TABLE 1

Systematic review (SR) questions

SR-1: Effectiveness of strategies aimed to improve adherence to guidelines on the diagnosis, assessment and long-term management of asthma
PopulationPatients with a clinical diagnosis of asthma. Patients with a clinical suspicion of asthma, for studies evaluating asthma diagnosis.
InterventionInterventions aimed to improve the adherence of clinicians to guidelines on the diagnosis, assessment and long-term management of asthma.
ComparatorAny other intervention aimed to improve the adherence of clinicians to guidelines on the diagnosis, assessment and long-term management of asthma, or no intervention.
OutcomesClinical outcomes such as frequency of acute attacks, episodes of hospitalisation, asthma symptoms, or quality of life. Process outcomes, such as adherence to specific guidelines components (e.g. prescription of inhaled corticosteroids for patients requiring maintenance treatment, or delivery of smoking cessation advice).
Types of studiesInterventional and observational comparative studies, including RCTs, cluster RCTs, comparative observational cohort studies or before-after studies.
SR-2: Effectiveness of strategies aimed to improve adherence to guidelines on the diagnosis, assessment and management of acute attacks
PopulationPatients with a clinical diagnosis of an acute asthma attack. Patients with a clinical suspicion of acute asthma attack, for studies evaluating asthma attack diagnosis.
InterventionInterventions aimed to improve the adherence of clinicians to guidelines on the diagnosis, assessment and management of acute asthma.
ComparatorAny other intervention aimed to improve the adherence of clinicians to guidelines on the diagnosis, assessment and management of acute asthma, or no intervention.
OutcomesClinical outcomes such as need for hospital admission, duration of symptoms, treatment success or failure, need for intubation or mechanical ventilation. Process outcomes, such as adherence to specific guidelines components (e.g. prescription of oral corticosteroids for all patients with an acute attack leading to an emergency presentation or hospital admission).
Types of studiesInterventional and observational comparative studies, including RCTs, cluster RCTs, comparative observational cohort studies or before-after studies.
SR-3: Process and clinical outcomes in patients managed by specialists or generalists
PopulationPatients with a clinical diagnosis of asthma or acute asthma attack. Patients with a clinical suspicion of asthma or acute asthma attack, for studies evaluating asthma or acute asthma attack diagnosis, respectively.
Exposure AManagement by an asthma specialist (respiratory physician or allergist).
Exposure BManagement by a generalist (general practitioner or internist, not specialised in asthma).
OutcomesFor studies evaluating the diagnosis, assessment or long-term management of asthma: clinical outcomes such as frequency of acute attacks, episodes of hospitalisation, asthma symptoms, or quality of life. Process outcomes, such as adherence to specific guidelines components (e.g. prescription of inhaled corticosteroids for patients requiring maintenance treatment, or delivery of smoking cessation advice).
For studies evaluating the diagnosis, assessment or management of acute asthma attacks: clinical outcomes such as need for hospital admission, duration of symptoms, treatment success or failure, need for intubation or mechanical ventilation. Process outcomes, such as adherence to specific guidelines components (e.g. prescription of oral corticosteroids for all patients with an acute attack leading to an emergency presentation or hospital admission).
Types of studiesInterventional and observational comparative studies, including RCTs, cluster RCTs, comparative observational cohort studies or before-after studies.

RCT: randomised controlled trial.