A needs analysis was conducted to investigate barriers to optimal emergency asthma care in rural Australia. The findings revealed that utilisation of ambulance services for asthma was suboptimal despite improved outcomes in cases where paramedic intervention was sought. Asthma Foundations of Australia funded the development, implementation and evaluation of the `Ambulances for Asthma’ program to address this issue. This paper aims to describe the role the community played in the development and evaluation of the program. The key domains of pedagogy, format, usability, navigation, interactivity and delivery have been utilised to provide a framework for program review.Methods
A Project Steering Group comprising key stakeholders was convened to establish best practice management of out-of-hospital asthma in rural areas. A multimedia education package incorporating a website, brochure/CD and poster was developed. Human-computer interface testing and focus groups were used to refine the program pre-implementation. Evaluation questionnaires and focus groups were utilised post implementation.Results
The vast majority (76%) of respondents agreed that the program was user friendly. A large proportion (90.5%) of participants felt more confident with their asthma knowledge and 64% of the participants were more likely to call an ambulance for their asthma as a result of the education package.Conclusion
The use of community based feedback to develop and refine the `Ambulances for Asthma’ program resulted in high levels of user satisfaction. The findings show that the program has potential as a decision aid for people with asthma in rural Australia.