Tracking Pediatric Asthma:The Massachusetts Experience Using School Health Records

Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Center for Environmental Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Environmental Health Perspectives (Impact Factor: 7.03). 10/2004; 112(14):1424-7. DOI: 10.1289/ehp.7146
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, initiated a 3-year statewide project for the routine surveillance of asthma in children using school health records as the primary data source. School district nurse leaders received electronic data reporting forms requesting the number of children with asthma by grade and gender for schools serving grades kindergarten (K) through 8. Verification efforts from an earlier community-level study comparing a select number of school health records with primary care provider records demonstrated a high level of agreement (i.e., > 95%). First-year surveillance targeted approximately one-half (n = 958 schools) of all Massachusetts's K-8 schools. About 78% of targeted school districts participated, and 70% of the targeted schools submitted complete asthma data. School nurse-reported asthma prevalence was as high as 30.8% for schools, with a mean of 9.2%. School-based asthma surveillance has been demonstrated to be a reliable and cost-effective method of tracking disease through use of an existing and enhanced reporting structure.

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