The difficulty of delivering respiratory therapy according to currently accepted standards is an important problem in many hospitals. As a result of this problem in our hospital, we developed a new therapy delivery system--the Respiratory Care Protocol. In response to an order for Respiratory Care Protocol from an attending physician, a senior respiratory therapist evaluates the patient, prescribes specific respiratory therapy according to a protocol, and then daily re-evaluates the patient and makes appropriate therapeutic changes, including discontinuing respiratory therapy when appropriate. The Respiratory Care Protocol has been well-accepted by patients, physicians, and respiratory therapists, and by Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals evaluation teams. We believe that our use of the Respiratory Care Protocol has led to improved quality and to the reduced cost of our in-hospital respiratory care.