Study objectives: To evaluate the initial benefits of establishing an oxygen therapy clinic (OTC) to manage users of long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT).
Design: Cross-sectional observational study.
Setting: Military-affiliated, tertiary care hospital.
Patients or participants: Current users of LTOT at our institution and patients with new oxygen prescriptions between June 2000 and May 2001.
Intervention: The OTC evaluation consisted of a focused medical interview and physical examination by a respiratory therapist. Demographic data, indications for supplemental oxygen, oxygen-related diagnoses, cardiopulmonary review of systems, pertinent physical examination findings, pulmonary function testing, and oximetry data were recorded. Patients prescribed oxygen during hospitalization were followed up for recertification within 90 days based on the recommendations of the Fifth Oxygen Consensus Conference. Also, patients with existing oxygen prescriptions and new oxygen prescriptions during the study period were evaluated in the OTC. Data are provided for the initial evaluation in this clinic.
Measurements and results: A total of 283 patients were evaluated in the OTC during the study period. Ninety-seven patients with a new oxygen prescription during hospitalization were evaluated, with a mean +/- SE time from discharge to evaluation of 2.6 +/- 0.4 months. At follow-up, 50.5% of these patients no longer met Medicare guidelines for LTOT. A significant change in oxygen prescription was required in 27.9% of these patients. A total of 95 outpatients with existing oxygen prescriptions were contacted for recertification in the OTC. Of these patients, 31.6% no longer met Medicare criteria for LTOT and 26% required a significant change to their oxygen prescription. Oxygen therapy was discontinued in 22% of the 91 patients who were referred from other outpatient clinics, and the oxygen prescription was changed in another 29.7%.
Conclusions: Results of this initial evaluation suggest that the institution of a respiratory therapist-managed OTC to manage home oxygen patients can significantly decrease inappropriate supplemental oxygen use, which can result in significant cost savings while providing improved health-care delivery. Further evaluation is necessary to identify the long-term benefits and cost savings in this population.