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Identifying patients with uncontrolled asthma

This section is for primary and secondary care clinicians and how they can support earlier identification of patients who may be eligible for biologics to treat their asthma.

Early identification and healthcare professional training

  • Identification tools– There is a need to improve identification of patients with potentially severe asthma who are inadequately treated/controlled so that their care can be optimised and if required, receive early referral to Severe Asthma Centres.

SPECTRA Tool Identification of SusPECTed seveRe Asthma in Adults

SPECTRA primary care clinical system resources have been developed to help identify adults with potential severe asthma, optimise and where required, refer them to severe asthma centres.

To see the SPECTRA Overview click here.

To see the SPECTRA information slide deck click here.

To see the SPECTRA Practice Level View click here.

To see the Data Protection Impact Assessment DPIA Template click here.

To see the Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) click here.


  • Education/training– Cogora have been commissioned to deliver two tailored educational modules about Identifying and Managing Uncontrolled Asthma and Management of Non-Adherence. The Asthma Biologics Training Package will consist of two e-learning modules, two podcasts and a series of three life webinars. To be launched soon!

NHS Business Services Authority Oral Corticosteroid Metric

Oxford Academic Health Science Network (Oxford AHSN) and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust have worked with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA)  to develop a new metric to help identify patients that are being prescribed quantities of prednisolone which might constitute a health risk.

Prednisolone is a short course steroid, which can be crucial in treating respiratory illnesses. However recent studies have shown that prescribing too many short course steroids could cause some adverse health conditions. This includes diabetes, cardiovascular illnesses, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoporosis and fractures, and many others.

The new metric looks at patients in England who have been prescribed prednisolone tablets, as well as an asthma/COPD medication in the last 12 months. It calculates the total cumulative dose, in milligrams, for the whole period. This will help clinicians to identify everyone at risk, and to prioritise those most at risk for review. At-risk patients may be suited to alternative therapies or clinical strategies.

This method also minimises the chance of including patients who are taking prednisolone for non-respiratory conditions, which can include Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

The new metric is available on the NHS BSA Respiratory Dashboard.