In 80% of cases, patients with asthma are treated by their GP. A newly developed questionnaire will help GPs to measure the severity of and changes in hyper-reactivity of the airways in asthma patients. Implementation of this questionnaire in a new form of care chain between the GP and the lung specialist at the hospital will enable the GP to continue to be the main coordinator in the treatment of patients with chronic pulmonary diseases. GP Roland Riemersma from Appingedam has developed and validated the new questionnaire in cooperation with the department of General Practice Medicine and the GRIAC (Groningen Research Institute of Asthma and COPD) of the UMCG/University of Groningen. Riemersma will be awarded a PhD by the University of Groningen for this research on 24 January 2011.
Hyper-reactivity of the airways with asthma is currently measured at the hospital using a time-consuming provocation test that is not pleasant for the patient. In addition, this test is expensive. By implementing the new measurement instrument at the GP’s surgery, the diagnosis, treatment and management of asthma patients can be conducted there with the minimum of inconvenience.
For years, Riemersma has worked intensively with lung specialists from various hospitals in Groningen and Huisartsenlab Noord, the GP laboratory for the north of the Netherlands. In 2007, the cooperation led to the implementation of a new care chain system for the treatment of patients with asthma and/or COPD, a collection of pulmonary diseases including chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. The aim of this type of care chain for asthma/COPD is to reach the right diagnosis more quickly and to streamline the discussion between the lung specialist and the GP, whereby management of the patient remains in the hands of the GP. Special support software has been developed for this project. This software ensures that all care providers in the treatment chain for patients with asthma or COPD have the relevant data to hand, for example the effect of the asthma treatment, the degree of lung damage with COPD, smoking behaviour and information about the patient’s inhalation technique. In his research, Riemersma demonstrated that the new care chain for asthma/COPD has added value for GPs because it provides them with all the relevant information. The research was financed by AstraZeneca BV Nederland.
Roland Riemersma (Velp, 1962) studied Medicine at the University of Groningen. Riemersma is a GP in Appingedam and has a research appointment for one day a week at the UMCG/University of Groningen. He conducted his PhD research at the department of General Practice Medicine and the GRIAC, Groningen Research Institute of Asthma and COPD of the UMCG/University of Groningen. His thesis is entitled ‘New developments in the treatment, diagnosing and management of asthma in general practice’. He will be awarded a PhD by the Faculty of Medical Sciences. His supervisors were Prof. T. van der Molen and Prof. D.S. Postma.
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