Objective: To determine the association between institutional inpatient clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for bronchiolitis and the use of diagnostic tests and treatments.
Study design: A multicenter retrospective cohort study of infants aged 29 days to 24 months with a discharge diagnosis of bronchiolitis was conducted between July 2011 and June 2012. An electronic survey was sent to quality improvement leaders to determine the presence, duration, and method of CPG implementation at participating hospitals. The Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used to perform bivariate comparisons between hospitals with CPGs and those without CPGs. Multivariable analysis was used to determine associations between CPG characteristics and the use of tests and treatments; analyses were clustered by hospital.
Results: The response rate to our electronic survey was 77% (33 of 43 hospitals). The majority (85%) had an institutional bronchiolitis CPG in place. Hospitals with a CPG had universal agreement regarding recommendations against routine tests and treatments. The presence of a CPG was not associated with significant reductions in the use of tests and treatments (eg, complete blood count, chest radiography, bronchodilator use, steroid and antibiotic use). A longer interval duration since CPG implementation and presence of an easily accessible online CPG document were associated with significant reductions in the performance of complete blood count and chest radiography and the use of corticosteroids. Other implementation factors demonstrated mixed results.
Conclusion: Most children's hospitals have an institutional bronchiolitis CPG in place. The content of these CPGs is largely uniform in practice recommendations against tests and treatments. The presence of institutional CPGs did not significantly reduce the ordering of tests and treatments. Online accessibility of a written CPG and prolonged duration of implementation reduce tests and treatments.
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