• Minnesota

    Beacon Program Partners with Area Schools on Asthma Initiatives

ROCHESTER, Minn. — The Southeast Minnesota Beacon Program, a federally funded health information technology research project, is reaching out to schools in the region to improve the management of asthma in school-aged children.

girl using asthma inhaler

Asthma is estimated to occur in 7 percent of school-aged children, although population-based studies in the Rochester Epidemiology Project show it could affect up to 12 percent. The Community Collaborative Asthma Project established a collaboration among Olmsted Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Public Health, and the Rochester School District to identify and manage asthma cases using a shared asthma action plan. Although still in its pilot phase, during its first year the project discovered 700 cases in addition to the 1,100 self-reported cases known to school health staffs. Substantial evidence links poorly controlled asthma to poor childhood school performance and poor school attendance.

The Beacon program is expanding the asthma action plan program in the 11-county region and will include parent-authorized, standards-based health information exchange (HIE) to increase reporting and accuracy of reporting and disseminate asthma action plans developed for children. Such care coordination among providers, parents/guardians and school nurses will help improve quality of life for school-aged youth with asthma.

The following schools have been awarded Beacon funding:

  • Elton Hills Elementary School (Rochester)
  • Lincoln K-8 Choice School (Rochester)
  • Kellogg Middle School (Rochester)
  • Neveln Elementary School (Austin)
  • Triton School District (Dodge Center)

These schools will help the Beacon program collect data on Asthma Action Plans and will be early users of the software being created.

The ultimate goal is to develop what Beacon leaders call a "cocoon of care" for children with chronic asthma, by coordinating efforts and information about student needs among their homes, health providers and schools. Research has shown chronic asthma affects a student's ability to exercise and take part in school activities and impacts self-esteem, school attendance and performance.

More information is available on the Schools page of the Southeast Minnesota Beacon website.

Southeast Minnesota Beacon is one of 17 community-based recipients of pilot program awards throughout the U.S. from the Office of the Coordinator of Health Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services. Each Beacon is to spotlight a variety of "best practice" approaches to improving health and health care delivery. The Beacon Communities are a series of medical practice and research coalitions focusing on specific health conditions in their areas using and developing efficient systems based on their expertise. The Southeast Minnesota Beacon, including collaborative partners from Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, Winona Health, Mayo Clinic Health System and public health departments in 11 counties, is focusing on childhood asthma and type II diabetes in adults.

Media Contact: Robert Nellis, 507-284-5005 (days), newsbureau@mayo.edu

Jeremy Salucka, Olmsted Medical Center, 507-292-7203, Rochester School District, Lincoln, Kellogg, Elton Hills, Tabitha Hanson RN, Jennifer - Communications Department, 507-328-4242

Triton Public Schools, Cori Jennings RN PHN, Licensed School Nurse, Nancy Stucky, Triton Elementary Principal, 507-374-2258

Austin-Neveln Elementary School, Heidi Doe RN, Amy Baskin, 507-460-1700