Pathways to Improve Pediatric Asthma Care: A Multisite, National Study of Emergency Department Asthma Pathway Implementation

J Pediatr. 2020 Aug;223:100-107.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.02.080. Epub 2020 May 11.


Objective: To determine the effects of pediatric asthma pathway implementation in a diverse, national sample of emergency departments (EDs).

Study design: In this quality improvement study, a national sample of EDs were provided pathways to tailor to local needs. Implementation strategies included local champions, external facilitators/mentors, educational seminars, and audit and feedback. Outcomes included systemic corticosteroid administration within 60 minutes (primary), assessment of severity at ED triage, chest radiograph use, hospital admission or transfer for higher level of care, and ED length of stay (balancing). Each month, EDs reviewed all charts (to a maximum of 20) of children ages 2-17 years with a primary diagnosis of asthma. Analyses were done using multilevel regression models with an interrupted time-series approach, adjusting for patient characteristics.

Results: We enrolled 83 EDs (37 in children's hospitals, 46 in community hospitals) and 61 (73%) completed the study (n = 22 963 visits). Pathway implementation was associated with significantly increased odds of systemic corticosteroid administration within 60 minutes of arrival (aOR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.02-1.55), increased odds of severity assessment at triage (aOR, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.22-2.90), and decreased rate of change in odds of hospital admission/transfer (aOR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.95-0.99). Pathway implementation was not associated with chest radiograph use or ED length of stay.

Conclusions: Pathway implementation was associated with improved quality of care for children with asthma in a diverse, national group of EDs.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Protocols / standards*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality Improvement
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors