Healthcare use and prescription patterns associated with adult asthma in Korea: analysis of the NHI claims database
- Edited by: Douglas Robinson
National Health Insurance (NHI) claim records could provide valuable data for epidemiological studies of asthma in Korea. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of adult asthma and to investigate asthma-related healthcare use and prescription patterns in Korea over 5 years.
National Health Insurance claim records from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2010 were analyzed in a retrospective, population-based study. Outcome measures included asthma prevalence, healthcare use, and prescription patterns over time, by type of hospital, and by medical specialty. Additionally, we assessed differences in healthcare use between newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed patients in 2009.
Over 5 years, the prevalence of asthma among Korean adults increased from 4944 to 5707 cases per 100 000 population (from 3760 to 4445 in men and from 6108 to 6951 in women). Asthma-related outpatient visits decreased from 4.82 ± 8.02 to 3.44 ± 5.50. Approximately 3% of all patients were hospitalized and 2.4% received asthma-related emergency treatment each year. Pulmonary function tests were performed in 10–11% of patients an average of 1.3 times per year. Newly diagnosed patients experienced fewer asthma-related hospitalizations (1.78% vs 4.35%) and emergency department visits (0.80% vs 2.11%) than the previously diagnosed group. Prescriptions of inhaled corticosteroids-based inhalers were maintained with about 20% of average of all types of hospitals.
The prevalence of asthma in Korea has increased over a recent 5-year period, and asthma is still suboptimally controlled. Public health strategies are needed to improve the management of asthma in adults.