Establishing benchmarks for the hospitalized care of children with asthma, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia

Pediatrics. 2014 Sep;134(3):555-62. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-1052.


Background and objectives: Asthma, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis are the leading causes of admission for pediatric patients; however, the lack of accepted benchmarks is a barrier to quality improvement efforts. Using data from children hospitalized with asthma, bronchiolitis, or pneumonia, the goals of this study were to: (1) measure the 2012 performance of freestanding children's hospitals using clinical quality indicators; and (2) construct achievable benchmarks of care (ABCs) for the clinical quality indicators.

Methods: This study was a cross-sectional trial using the Pediatric Health Information System database. Patient inclusions varied according to diagnosis: asthma (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] codes 493.0-493.92) from 2 to 18 years of age; bronchiolitis (ICD-9-CM codes 466.11 and 466.19) from 2 months to 2 years of age; and pneumonia (ICD-9-CM codes 480-486, 487.0) from 2 months to 18 years of age. ABC methods use the best-performing hospitals that comprise at least 10% of the total population to compute the benchmark.

Results: Encounters from 42 hospitals included: asthma, 22186; bronchiolitis, 14882; and pneumonia, 12983. Asthma ABCs include: chest radiograph utilization, 24.5%; antibiotic administration, 6.6%; and ipratropium bromide use >2 days, 0%. Bronchiolitis ABCs include: chest radiograph utilization, 32.4%; viral testing, 0.6%; antibiotic administration, 18.5%; bronchodilator use >2 days, 11.4%; and steroid use, 6.4%. Pneumonia ABCs include: complete blood cell count utilization, 28.8%; viral testing, 1.5%; initial narrow-spectrum antibiotic use, 60.7%; erythrocyte sedimentation rate, 3.5%; and C-reactive protein, 0.1%.

Conclusions: We report achievable benchmarks for inpatient care for asthma, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia. The establishment of national benchmarks will drive improvement at individual hospitals.

Keywords: asthma; benchmarks; bronchiolitis; quality improvement.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Benchmarking / methods
  • Benchmarking / standards*
  • Bronchiolitis / diagnosis
  • Bronchiolitis / epidemiology
  • Bronchiolitis / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Care / standards*
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies