Planning for the new edition began with a short online survey of users of the previous edition in July 2010. A personalised invitation to complete the survey was emailed to all members of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (approximately 22,000 members).
The survey was also advertised in the National Asthma Council Australia's email newsletter for health professionals and the member newsletters of relevant professional associations:
- Australian Asthma and Respiratory Educators Association
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
- Pharmacy Guild of Australia
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (as a reminder)
- Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand
There were 1071 respondents, of whom 760 (71%) were GPs.
Nearly all (98%) of respondents who were aware of the previous edition said it was somewhat or very relevant to their practice. Regarding potential additional features, 61% agreed with clinical decision pathways and 69% agreed with quick reference to key practice points. Other comments emphasised that the Handbook should be simple, concise and practical.
When asked about print publication format (in addition to the planned full online version), only 18% indicated that no print version was needed. For those wanting a printed version, the clear format preference was for a summary of the key practice points, tables and figures.
The National Asthma Council Australia invited selected experts to review the previous edition of the handbook, the Asthma Management Handbook 2006.
Each clinical topic area was reviewed by at least two reviewers:
- a primary care clinician (e.g. GP)
- a specialist clinician or other expert with a special interest in the clinical area.
The preliminary expert review phase was completed in early 2011.
Primary care reviewers advised on whether the section covered key clinical issues for primary care health professionals, and identified any gaps or areas in which more guidance was needed.
Specialist reviewers advised on the currency of factual information and recommendations, and identified areas where there had been substantial changes in opinion and/or new evidence.