Do the Guidelines Apply?-A Multisite, Combined Stakeholder Qualitative Case Study to Understand Care Decisions in Bronchiolitis

Acad Pediatr. 2022 Jul;22(5):806-817. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.08.003. Epub 2021 Aug 8.


Background: Clinical practice guidelines for bronchiolitis recommend against tests and treatments that do not improve outcomes, yet most children admitted with bronchiolitis continue to receive them. An improved understanding of factors that influence care decisions across multiple stakeholders and diverse settings is needed to develop effective strategies to de-implement (or reduce) unnecessary testing and treatment.

Methods: We explored health care provider, care team, and parent perspectives on testing and treatment in bronchiolitis to develop a combined stakeholder account of care decisions. We conducted a qualitative case study across 2 geographically distinct university affiliated children's hospitals representing a generally low and high test/treatment utilizing hospital respectively from March 2019 to May 2020. We conducted 46 semistructured interviews and 3 focus groups with a total of 74 participants. Data were analyzed using applied thematic analysis and findings were triangulated across participant group and data collection method.

Results: Three themes emerged around care decisions: 1) awareness and perceptions of the guidelines or evidence; 2) perceptions of expected tests or treatments, and 3) organizational culture and existing care processes. Provider and care team participants commonly described parent expectations as drivers of utilization. Conversely, parents generally reported a lack of expectations for tests/treatments and that tests/treatments did not improve their experience of care.

Conclusions: This study illuminated factors associated with the differential adoption of evidence and targets for future de-implementation strategies. Importantly, incongruent with provider and care team perceptions, parents reported that they desire an evidence-based, less-is-more approach to bronchiolitis care.

Keywords: bronchiolitis; parents; pediatrics; qualitative.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bronchiolitis* / diagnosis
  • Bronchiolitis* / therapy
  • Child
  • Focus Groups
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Qualitative Research