PURPOSE: Peak flow monitoring is considered standard of practice in patients with asthma. Despite educating patients, compliance with monitoring and understanding of peak flows remain poor. We sought to look for ways to simplify the numbers so as to enhance patient understanding.
METHODS: Patients n=32 with a known history of asthma were asked to fill out an anonymous questionnaire regarding peak flow meters. Patients were asked to read a patient education sheet containing a description of peak flow meters. They were then asked if it would be easier to understand the concept of peak flow measurement if described as maximum wind speed in miles per hour (mph) instead of liters per minute.
RESULTS: 62.5% (20 out of 32) of patients did not know what a peak flow meter was and 66% (21) did not know the unit of measurement. After a brief education 46.88% (15) of patients thought using maximum wind speed in mph would be easier to understand. 60% (12 out of 20) of patients who did not know what a peak flow meter measured thought a simpler unit of measurement was better.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients have a fair understanding of peak flow monitoring. Simplifying terminology may help patients understand the concept of peak flow monitoring resulting in better asthma control.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Simplifying peak flow terminology may help patients better understand their disease. This may empower them to be more involved in their care resulting in better patient outcome.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Maithri Reddy, Mary Zaremba, Kristin Elliott, Alicia Redford, Syed Ali, Nipurn Shah, Sridhar Reddy
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