Maximizing clinical efficiency through the reduction in inpatient length of stay (LOS) using standardized protocols has been a major objective among hospital administrators, most notably in the context of recent healthcare reimbursement changes at statewide levels. The objective of our project was to determine whether a synchronous change in an inpatient asthma protocol that relied on a respiratory therapist (RT)-driven bronchodilator weaning algorithm and bronchodilator therapy given through a metered dose inhaler (MDI) plus valved holding chamber (VHC) could impact clinical and financial outcomes. A pre-post study assessed patients aged 2-21 years of age admitted with a primary diagnosis of status asthmaticus. The effect of the protocol was measured from October 2014 to July 2015. Outcome variables included patient demographics, hospital LOS, all-patient refined diagnosis-related groups (APR-DRGs), and inpatient charges. Outcomes were compared between the preimplementation and postimplementation time periods. Statistical significance was measured using Wilcoxon signed-rank test and bootstrap logistic regression models. Protocol patients (n = 110) had a similar demographic and clinical profile compared with the matched population from the previous nonprotocol fiscal year (n = 150). Use of the protocol resulted in a significantly reduced LOS that maintained significance after adjusting for APR-DRGs weight (P < 0.05). The protocol did not alter the total hospital billing charges. A nonstatistically significant reduction in 30-day readmission rates was observed among those administered the protocol. An RT-led weaning protocol using a quantitative scoring system and MDI+VHC for bronchodilator administration resulted in a significantly reduced LOS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine