Group-Randomized Trial of Tailored Brief Shared Decision-Making to Improve Asthma Control in Urban Black Adults

Abstract [from journal]

Aims: To assess the intervention effects of BREATHE (BRief intervention to Evaluate Asthma THErapy), a novel brief shared decision-making intervention and evaluate feasibility and acceptability of intervention procedures.

Design: Group-randomized longitudinal pilot study.

Methods: In total, 80 adults with uncontrolled persistent asthma participated in a trial comparing BREATHE (N = 40) to a dose-matched attention control intervention (N = 40). BREATHE is a one-time shared decision-making intervention delivered by clinicians during routine office visits. Ten clinicians were randomized and trained on BREATHE or the control condition. Participants were followed monthly for 3 months post-intervention. Data were collected from December 2017 - May 2019 and included surveys, lung function tests, and interviews.

Results: Participants were Black/multiracial (100%) mostly female (83%) adults (mean age 45). BREATHE clinicians delivered BREATHE to all 40 participants with fidelity based on expert review of audiorecordings. While the control group reported improvements in asthma control at 1-month and 3-month follow-up, only BREATHE participants had better asthma control at each timepoint (β = 0.77; standard error (SE)[0.17]; p ≤ 0.0001; β = 0.71; SE[0.16]; p ≤ 0.0001; β = 0.54; SE[0.15]; p = .0004), exceeding the minimally important difference. BREATHE participants also perceived greater shared decision-making occurred during the intervention visit (β = 7.39; SE[3.51]; p = .03) and fewer symptoms at follow-up (e.g., fewer nights woken, less shortness of breath and less severity of symptoms) than the controls. Both groups reported improved adherence and fewer erroneous medication beliefs.

Conclusion: BREATHE is a promising brief tailored intervention that can be integrated into office visits using clinicians as interventionists. Thus, BREATHE offers a pragmatic approach to improving asthma outcomes and shared decision-making in a health disparity population.

Impact: The study addressed the important problem of uncontrolled asthma in a high-risk vulnerable population. Compared with the dose-matched attention control condition, participants receiving the novel brief tailored shared decision-making intervention had significant improvements in asthma outcomes and greater perceived engagement in shared decision-making. Brief interventions integrated into office visits and delivered by clinicians may offer a pragmatic approach to narrowing health disparity gaps. Future studies where other team members (e.g., office nurses, social workers) are trained in shared decision-making may address important implementation science challenges as it relates to adoption, maintenance, and dissemination.