Backgrounder: The GINA Hospitalization Survey
Last year on World Asthma Day, GINA launched an online data collection system, the GINA
Hospitalization Survey. The database was developed in collaboration with the University of
British Columbia and housed at http://www.core.ubc.ca/Asthma/GINA. GINA encourages World
Asthma Day 2012 participants to take this effort to the next level by reaching out to their
professional networks of physicians and nurses, asthma specialists, educators, and others to find
and share existing datasets on asthma hospitalizations.
The purpose of the GINA Hospitalization Survey is to collect the total number of hospitalizations
as well as the rates of hospitalizations for asthma across countries, regions, or institutions. It is
part of GINA’s Asthma Control Challenge, a global campaign to encourage governments, health
departments, and health care professionals to improve asthma control and reduce asthma
hospitalization 50% within 5 years.
Why is the GINA Hospitalization Survey necessary?
In order to meet our goal of reducing asthma-related hospitalizations 50% over 5 years, we need
to record the rate of hospitalizations in different countries and regions when they enter the
Asthma Control Challenge. We also need a way to track progress in reducing hospitalizations as
the challenge proceeds. The GINA Hospitalization Survey will help provide both of these types
of information, serving as a baseline and also a benchmark. The Asthma Control Challenge is a
“rolling” project—countries and regions can begin the challenge at any time and aim to cut
hospitalizations in half by 5 years later.
Who can participate in the GINA Hospitalization Survey?
The online data collection system is open to national, regional, or local public health authorities,
government representatives, hospitals, and individual medical practices—any group that collects
data on asthma-related hospitalizations and is willing to share these data. To participate, simply
visit the survey Website at http://www.core.ubc.ca/Asthma/GINA, create an account, and enter
your data in the appropriate tables.
What information is collected in the GINA Hospitalization Survey?
In order to maximize both the number of participants in the survey and the amount of
information collected, the online system includes two different formats for data entry: a Simple
form and an Advanced or Detailed form.
The Simple form tracks the absolute number of asthma-related hospitalizations, which can be
entered quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.
Although the primary purpose of the survey is to gather data on hospitalizations, it is also useful
to capture data on asthma-related deaths where this information is available. Therefore, the
Advanced or Detailed form includes tables where users can enter hospital admission rates (per
100,000 individuals per year), total hospitalizations, mortality rates, and total number of asthma
deaths, as well as breaking down these figures by age and sex.
When will the online survey be used?
The database will be used to record data on asthma-related hospitalizations over the next five
How will the data from the GINA Hospitalization Survey be used in the end?
First, the online data collection system provides a convenient place for participants in the
Asthma Control Challenge to record their hospitalization data. In addition, it is anticipated that
these data will form the basis for a future scientific publications, in which the contributions of all
participants will be recognized.
What are other ways to participate in the Asthma Control Challenge?
The GINA Hospitalization Survey is only one part of the larger Asthma Control Challenge. Here
is how we envision it working, step by step:
Form a group. At the national or local level, bring together stakeholders including
public health authorities, government representatives, NGOs, respiratory societies, and
others to participate in the Asthma Control Challenge.
Determine the baseline. Find the number of hospitalizations caused by asthma in
2010 or 2011. Use national or local registries, or make educated estimates. Implement
more effective data recording practices if necessary.
Make a plan. Focus on asthma control and preventing asthma exacerbations through
appropriate asthma diagnosis and control assessment, environmental/preventative
measures, individualized pharmacotherapy, and education/guided self-management.
Carry it out. With local specialists and opinion leaders, create an effective network
with a motivated group of general practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, and other health
educators to inform all health care professionals of the best practices (for example,
guidelines applicable to the country or area in question). National experts, with the
help of local networks, can create tools for practical patient counselling to take place
in every patient contact.
Track the results. Organize follow-up of hospitalizations caused by asthma and
collect yearly numbers to be analyzed for further actions and benchmarking. If
possible, communicate with health economists to create models to find out potential
cost savings of the medical efforts. Cost analysis should include at least hospitalization
days, but, if feasible, should also include changes in outpatient visits, medication,
disability, and productivity loss.