Grant Application

Susan Gibbons, RN, MHA, David Wolfson, MD, and Jonathan Spahr, MD, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Proposed Innovation

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in childhood, affecting six million children in the U.S. annually. Insufficiently controlled, childhood asthma can be deadly. Asthma guidelines recommend early and aggressive treatment of acute symptoms. However, many parents of children with asthma lack written action plans — or don’t refer to them — and many need help recognizing severe symptoms and understanding management

The Asthma Care Connection was designed to improve care by providing 24/7 asthma support and education through the creation of an asthma nurse hotline and expansion of the newly launched “MyChp” online pediatric patient portal and MyUPMC.


Asthma Care Connection combines technology and the skill of registered nurses to fill the gaps in communication and to improve asthma care for pediatric patients. When physician offices are closed, families can call the Asthma hotline and talk to a registered nurse about symptoms and treatment.

The nurses act as “asthma coaches,” making follow-up calls 24 and 72 hours after an asthma attack to talk to parents about their child’s current level of asthma control and medication use. They also provide additional asthma information, and encourage use of the “MyUPMC” portal portal where parents and patients can view their customized asthma plan and medications, early signs and symptoms of an attack, and how to tailor medications to reduce the chance of an emergency.


During the pilot phase, four Children’s Community Pediatrics practices participated with 12 patients enrolled in the Asthma Care Connection program. Data was then analyzed to measure effectiveness of education, decreases in Emergency Department visits for asthma treatment, and medication compliance. The next step will be to open enrollment to other CCP practices and collect additional data for analysis.

The Asthma Care Connection program gives parents and patients the confidence to better manage disease symptoms. This leads to improved medication compliance, reduced environmental triggers, fewer episodes of acute symptoms, and fewer Emergency Department visits and hospitalization.