BACKGROUND: Although severe asthma can be life-threatening, many patients are unaware they have this condition.
OBJECTIVES: Patient Understanding Leading to Assessment for a Severe Asthma Referral (PULSAR) is a novel, multidisciplinary working group aiming to develop and disseminate a global, patient-centered description of severe asthma to improve patient understanding of severe asthma and effect a change in patient behavior whereby patients are encouraged to visit their healthcare professional, when appropriate.
METHODS: Current definitions from patient organization websites, asthma guidelines, and medication information for key asthma drugs were assessed and informed a multidisciplinary working group, convened to identify common concepts and terminology used to define severe asthma. A patient-centered description of severe asthma and patient checklist were drafted based on working-group discussions and reviewed by an external behavioral scientist for patient understanding and relevance. These were tested using an online US/Canadian survey.
RESULTS: The patient-centered description of severe asthma and patient checklist were reviewed and re-drafted by the authors. The text was simplified following the behavioral-scientist review. The survey (n = 153) included 105 patients with severe asthma. Of those with severe asthma, 92.2% of patients reported that the description was consistent with their experiences of severe asthma and 92.6% of patients reported that the PULSAR initiative would encourage them to visit their healthcare provider.
CONCLUSION: A patient-centered description of severe asthma has been developed and tested using patients with severe asthma; this description will allow patients to assess whether they might have severe asthma and prompt them to visit their healthcare provider, if appropriate.