Purpose: A statewide quality improvement initiative was conducted in Connecticut to improve process-of-care performance and to decrease length of stay for patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia.
Setting and methods: Data were collected on 1,242 elderly (> or =65 years) pneumonia patients hospitalized at 31 of 32 acute care hospitals between January 16, 1995, and March 15, 1996, and on 1,146 patients hospitalized between January 1, 1997, and June 30, 1997. Interventions included feedback of performance data (Qualidigm, the Connecticut Peer Review Organization), dissemination of an evidence-based pneumonia critical pathway (Connecticut Thoracic Society), and sharing of pathway implementation experiences (hospitals). Process and outcome measures included early antibiotic administration, blood culture collection, oxygenation assessment, length of stay, 30-day mortality, and 30-day readmission rates. Analyses were adjusted for severity of illness and hospital-specific practice patterns.
Results: After the statewide initiative, improvements were noted in antibiotic administration within 8 hours of hospital arrival (improvement from 83.4% to 88.8%, relative risk [RR] = 1.21; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10 to 1.32), oxygenation assessment within 24 hours of hospital arrival (93.6% to 95.4%; RR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.38), and length of stay (7 days to 5 days, P <0.001). There were no significant changes in blood culture collection within 24 hours of hospital arrival, blood culture collection before antibiotic administration, 30-day mortality, or 30-day readmission rates.
Conclusions: Statewide improvements were demonstrated in the care of hospitalized pneumonia patients concurrent with a multifaceted quality improvement intervention. Further research is needed to separate the effects of the quality improvement interventions from secular trends.