Page highlights

Impact

  • Health expenditure on asthma increased between 2015–16 and 2019–20, from $770 million to $900 million
  • Deaths due to asthma decreased from 456 to 351 from 2017 to 2021

Treatment and management

  • Hospitalisations for asthma decreased from 175 to 100 per 100,000 from 2016–17 to 2020–21
  • Emergency department presentations for asthma decreased from 297 to 232 per 100,000 from 2018–19 to 2020–21

Overview

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. People with asthma experience episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness due to widespread narrowing of the airways.

The 10 National asthma indicators were published in the National Asthma Strategy 2018 by the National Asthma Council (NACA 2018). The National Asthma Strategy aims to reduce the health, social and economic impacts of asthma with a targeted and comprehensive approach to optimise asthma diagnosis and management. These indicators provide information for policymakers about the status of asthma in Australia.

The goal of the Strategy is to reduce the impact of asthma on Australia’s health, society and economy. To achieve this, the Strategy outlines 5 high-level objectives with potential areas for action:

  1. Support effective self-management practices
  2. Develop the health professional workforce
  3. Enhance asthma care and management
  4. Create supportive community environments
  5. Promote research, evidence and data

Progress in achieving the goal and objectives of the Strategy will be measured by the following outcome measures:

  • Decrease in suboptimal asthma control
  • Increase in asthma action plan uptake for both adults and children
  • Improved adherence with appropriate preventer medicines
  • Increase in annual General Practitioner (GP) reviews of people with asthma
  • Reduced avoidable asthma-related hospitalisations (Indigenous and non-Indigenous)
  • Improved quality of life among people with asthma
  • Reduced costs of asthma to patients, the healthcare system and government, including indirect costs such as reduced productivity
  • Reduced prevalence of asthma (Indigenous and non-Indigenous)
  • Reduced asthma-related deaths (Indigenous and non-Indigenous)

This is the second update of the National asthma indicators. Indicator reporting has been incorporated into the Asthma web pages and links are included from the summary table below.

National asthma indicators – Tracking progress

Outcome measure

Indicator

Baseline value*

Latest value

Progress status

Last updated

Reduced prevalence of asthma

1: The proportion of people who report having current and long-term asthma

11% of Australians in 2017–18

11% of Australians in 2020–21

Data not comparable

30 June 2023

View data source for prevalence

Reduced costs of asthma to patients, the healthcare system and government, including indirect costs such as reduced productivity

2: Annual health expenditure on asthma

$770 million in 2015–16

$900 million in 2019–20

Regress

30 June 2023

View data source for health expenditure

Improved quality of life among people with asthma

3: Impact of asthma on quality of life

 

23% of people with asthma reported that asthma inferred with their daily activities 2 or more times in 2017–18

21% of people with asthma reported that asthma inferred with their daily activities 2 or more times in 2020–21

Data not comparable 

30 June 2023

View data source for quality-of-life measures

11% of people with asthma reported experiencing very high levels of psychological distress in 2017–18

11% of people with asthma reported experiencing very high levels of psychological distress in 2020–21

Data not comparable 

30 June 2023

View data source for quality-of-life measures

8% of people with asthma reported having poor self-assessed health in 2017–18

5% of people with asthma reported having poor self-assessed health in 2020–21

Data not comparable 

30 June 2023

View data source for quality-of-life measures

Reduced asthma-related deaths

4: Deaths due to asthma

 

1.9 deaths per 100,000 for all ages in 2017 (456 deaths)

1.4 deaths per 100,000 people for all ages in 2021 (351 deaths)

Progress

30 June 2023

View data source for deaths

The death rate due to asthma for people aged 5–34, was 0.3 per 100,000 in 2017

The death rate due to asthma for people aged 5–34, was 0.2 per 100,000 in 2021

Progress

30 June 2023

View data source for deaths

The death rate due to asthma for people aged 35–54, was 1.0 per 100,000 in 2017

The death rate due to asthma for people aged 35–54, was 0.4 per 100,000 in 2021

Progress

30 June 2023

View data source for deaths

The death rate due to asthma for people aged 55 and over, was 5.5 per 100,000 in 2017

The death rate due to asthma for people aged 55 and over, was 4.1 per 100,000 in 2021

Progress

30 June 2023

View data source for deaths

Decrease in suboptimal asthma control

5: Asthma control medication use

17% of people dispensed at least 1 SABA, were dispensed 3 or more SABA in 2017–18

18% of people dispensed at least 1 SABA, were dispensed 3 or more SABA in 2021–22

No change

30 June 2023

View data source for asthma control medications

Improved adherence with appropriate preventer medicines

6: Preventer medication use for asthma

34% dispensed at least 1 preventer, were dispensed 3 or more preventers in 2017–18

33% dispensed at least 1 preventer, were dispensed 3 or more preventers in 2021–22

No change

30 June 2023

View data source for preventer medication

Increase in annual General Practitioner (GP) reviews of people with asthma

7: Asthma cycle of care claims

0.3% of Australians claimed in 2017–18

0.1% of Australians claimed in 2021–22

Regress

30 June 2023

View data source for asthma cycle of care claims

Increase in asthma action plan uptake for both adults and children

8: Asthma action plans

31% of people with asthma had a plan in 2017–18

34% of people with asthma had a plan in 2021–22

 

Data not comparable

30 June 2023

View data source for asthma action plans

Reduced asthma-related hospitalisations

9: Hospital admissions due to asthma

175 per 100,000 asthma hospitalisations in 2016–17

100 per 100,000 asthma hospitalisations in 2020–21

Progress

30 June 2023

View data source for asthma hospitalisations

Reduced asthma-related hospitalisations

10: Emergency department presentations

297 per 100,000 ED presentations in 2018–19 due to asthma

232 per 100,000 ED presentations in 2020–21 due to asthma

Progress

30 June 2023

View data source for asthma ED presentations

Baseline data was included in the 2019 Indicator report. Full indicator text is included in the Asthma web pages at links provided in the table above.

Status key
tickUsed where there are 2 or more data points, and the measure is moving in the direction the Strategy wants to see. crossUsed where there are 2 or more data points, and the measure is not moving in the direction the Strategy wants to see. dotsUsed where there are 2 or more data points, and the latest data are similar to the baseline. blankUsed where data is not comparable over time.

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