Effectiveness of an online education program for asthma patients in general practice: study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial

for the Bavarian Practice-Based Research Network (BayFoNet)

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Background: Asthma education programs (AEPs) have been shown to increase quality of life and reduce emergency treatments and hospital admissions. Despite the proven benefits, only a minority of asthma patients attend such programs. To increase the number of educated patients, an online education program (electronic AEP, eAEP) for asthma patients has been developed. The present study aims to investigate the effectiveness of the eAEP in terms of asthma knowledge, asthma control and emergency treatments in general practice settings. Methods: This is a cluster randomized controlled trial including 100 patients with bronchial asthma from 20 general practices in Bavaria, Germany. General practices will be randomly assigned to either the intervention or control group. Patients in the intervention group will receive access to the eAEP and instructions to complete this program within two weeks. Patients in the control group will receive usual care including a referral to face-to-face AEP (fAEP) by a certified primary care physician or a pulmonologist according to guideline recommendations. Furthermore, patients of both the intervention and control groups will be invited to a follow-up consultation in their general practice after completion of the eAEP and fAEP (three weeks and twelve weeks after study inclusion, respectively) to discuss any open issues. Outcomes for both groups will be assessed at baseline (t0), after two weeks (t1), three months (t2) and six months (t3). The primary outcome is the comparison of asthma knowledge gain between intervention and control groups after completion of the eAEP (two weeks after study inclusion) and fAEP (twelve weeks after study inclusion), respectively. Secondary outcomes include asthma control, frequency of emergency treatments, patient autonomy as well as attitudes towards asthma medication. Discussion: The results of the present trial will provide knowledge about the effectiveness of an online education program for asthma patients compared to usual care in primary care. Trial registration: German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS), DRKS00028805. Registered 22 April 2022.

Original languageEnglish
Article number457
JournalBMC Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Asthma
  • Asthma knowledge
  • Cluster randomized controlled trial
  • Digital intervention
  • Patient education
  • Primary care
  • Self-management


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