Asthma is an important health problem worldwide and the prevalence is increasing in most part of the world. The burden of this disease to governments, health-care systems, and patients and their families have been greater more than ever despite efforts advocated by Global Initiative for Asthma for total asthma controls. Using Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, in this review, the population-based prospective studies showed the costs and health care utilization of childhood asthma in Taiwan was 2 folds higher than non-asthmatic children, and the prescription patterns of anti-asthmatic medications among physician in different discipline were all far from satisfied. The appropriateness of combinational therapy of inhaled corticosteroids and long acting β-agonists for moderate to severe childhood asthma was only 62%. In a government-sponsored disease management program for asthmatic patients within national health insurance, though the total mean costs (26.5%) and outpatient costs (26.1%) increased, the mean emergency department visits and hospitalization rates were significantly reduced by 34.4% and 51.74%, respectively, compared to the previous year. Therefore, in the real-world situation, asthmatic patients as well as medical professions who take care of asthmatic children still have much space for their symptoms controls and knowledge improvement to reduce the burden of asthma. From the experience of care and management of childhood asthma in Taiwan may reveal same problems of childhood asthma care in the similar cultural and ecological environments of Asian pacific countries, and suggest government-sponsored program may also have significant impact aimed at improving the care of patients with asthma.
Keywords: Childhood asthma, Health care utilization, Disease management, National health insurance