Background and objectives: Pathways guide clinicians through evidence-based care of specific conditions. Pathways have been demonstrated to improve inpatient asthma care but mainly in studies at large, tertiary children's hospitals. It remains unclear if these effects are generalizable across diverse hospital settings. Our objective was to improve inpatient asthma care by implementing pathways in a diverse, national sample of hospitals.
Methods: We used a learning collaborative model. Pathway implementation strategies included local champions, external facilitators and/or mentors, educational seminars, quality improvement methods, and audit and feedback. Outcomes included length of stay (LOS) (primary), early administration of metered-dose inhalers, screening for secondhand tobacco exposure and referral to cessation resources, and 7-day hospital readmissions or emergency revisits (balancing). Hospitals reviewed a sample of up to 20 charts per month of children ages 2 to 17 years who were admitted with a primary diagnosis of asthma (12 months before and 15 months after implementation). Analyses were done by using multilevel regression models with an interrupted time series approach, adjusting for patient characteristics.
Results: Eighty-five hospitals enrolled (40 children's and 45 community); 68 (80%) completed the study (n = 12 013 admissions). Pathways were associated with increases in early administration of metered-dose inhalers (odds ratio: 1.18; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14-1.22) and referral to smoking cessation resources (odds ratio: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.27-2.91) but no statistically significant changes in other outcomes, including LOS (rate ratio: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.96-1.06). Most hospitals (65%) improved in at least 1 outcome.
Conclusions: Pathways did not significantly impact LOS but did improve quality of asthma care for children in a diverse, national group of hospitals.
Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.