Background: The allergy management support system (AMSS) was developed to assist general practitioners (GPs) to handle the increasing burden of allergic diseases and facilitates the diagnosis and management of allergy. The aim of this cluster-randomized controlled pilot study was to test the feasibility of this AMSS for primary care.
Methods: GPs received diagnostic and management recommendations generated by the AMSS in addition to sIgE-test results (intervention) or GPs received sIgE-test results only (control). The AMSS recommendations are based on the previously developed patient-completed AMSS questionnaire and sIgE-test results. The AMSS was considered feasible when > 70% of the AMSS recommendations were sent to the GP within ten working days of sIgE-testing. GPs completed a questionnaire on their diagnosis and management before (T1) and after (T2) receiving sIgE test results. Agreement and disagreement concerning diagnosis, medication and referrals between GPs and AMSS was investigated at T1 and T2. A total agreement score between GPs and AMSS was calculated. GPs in the intervention group completed a questionnaire to evaluate the utility of the AMSS. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the motivation of GPs who did not include patients in this pilot study.
Results: Twenty-seven GPs included 101 patients. Forty-two patients (72%) completed the AMSS questionnaire in the intervention group. The majority of the AMSS recommendations (93%) were returned to the GP within 10 working days after sIgE-test results were known [mean (SD) 4.7 (4.0) working days]. GPs in the intervention group reported largely following the AMSS recommendations in 71% of cases. The total agreement scores concerning diagnosis were significantly higher (p < 0.001) in the intervention group than the control group [mean (SD); 0.9 (1.8) vs - 0.8 (1.0)]. The agreement concerning medication or referral between GPs and AMSS did not differ between the intervention and the control group. GPs in the intervention group were reasonably positive about the AMSS. Not enrolling patients was not caused by anticipated ineffectiveness of the AMSS.
Conclusion: The AMSS can be considered to be feasible for primary care. GPs tend to follow the AMSS recommendations. The AMSS may contribute to the empowerment of GPs to better manage allergy patients in primary care.Trial registration ISRCTN ISRCTN36780877. Registered 23 November 2017 (retrospectively registered).