The hospitalization of a child with asthma may be considered a sentinel event — a marker of potentially preventable lapses in the child’s care. Unfortunately, this scenario is common as asthma is among the top three reasons for hospitalization in children.

While understanding of the barriers to effective care and therapeutic armamentarium have increased tremendously over the past two decades, the same cannot be said of factors that impact rates of asthma hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits. Therefore, there is a gap either in our fundamental understanding of the disease or, more likely, in the quality of care for children with asthma.

Hospitalists often have a unique perspective on missed opportunities in care. The field’s focus on quality and safety has yielded recent work that may provide opportunities for systems-based reform.

Education and engagement of the patient and family are critical pieces of asthma management. Unfortunately, “I ran out...

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