Bronchial thermoplasty: implementing best practice in the era of cost containment

Journal of Asthma and Allergy » Volume 2017:10 Pages 225—230

Laren D Tan,1 Nicholas Kenyon,2 Ken Y Yoneda,2 Samuel Louie2

1Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Hyperbaric and Sleep Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA; 2Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, USA

Abstract: Increasing dependence on advanced technologies in the 21st century has created a dilemma between the practice and business of medicine. From information technology to robotic surgery, new technologies have expanded treatment possibilities and have potentially improved patient outcomes and safety. Simultaneously, their escalating costs limit access for certain patients and health care facilities. Nevertheless, medical decisions should not simply be based on cost. Input from physicians and other health care specialists as well as adherence to best practice position statements, are vital to implementing truly cost-effective strategies in medicine. Bronchial thermoplasty (BT), a US Food and Drug Administration approved bronchoscopy procedure in difficult-to-control persistent asthma, is a prime example of a new technology facing cost and implementation challenges. We discuss the specific indications and contraindications for BT and review recent real-world experiences that can provide the foundation for building a comprehensive asthma program that provides BT for difficult-to-control asthma patients who fail national guideline treatment recommendations after an adequate clinical trial of one. We also offer insight into the barriers to implementing a successful BT program and strategies for overcoming them.

Keywords: asthma, severe asthma, severe refractory asthma, biologic resistant asthma, BT

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