Improving Inpatient Asthma Management: The Implementation and Evaluation of a Pediatric Asthma Clinical Pathway.

Academic Article


  • INTRODUCTION: Asthma exacerbations are a leading cause of pediatric hospitalizations. Despite national guidelines, variability exists in the use and dosing of bronchodilators, oxygen management, and respiratory assessments of patients. We aimed to implement an inpatient Asthma Clinical Pathway (Pathway) to standardize care and reduce length of stay (LOS). METHODS: A respiratory therapy-driven Pathway was designed for inpatient asthma management. The Pathway included standardized respiratory therapy assessments, bronchodilator dosing, and protocols for progression and clinical worsening. We monitored key process measures. Patients admitted to the Pathway during pilot implementation (March to December 2011) were compared retrospectively with a "Usual Care" cohort admitted during the same period. We compared average LOS, average billed charges per hospitalization (charges), and 30-day readmissions between groups. Statistical process control charts were utilized to analyze LOS and charges for all asthma admissions following Pathway implementation (March 2011 to September 2016). Readmissions and Pathway removals were balancing measures. RESULTS: During pilot, Pathway patients (n = 153) compared with "Usual Care" patients (n = 166) had shorter LOS (0.95 versus 1.86 days; P < 0.001) and lower charges ($7,413 versus $11,078; P < 0.001). Readmission rates were not significantly different between groups. LOS for all asthma admissions (n = 3,429) decreased from 2.30 to 1.44 days (P < 0.001) following Pathway implementation. Charges remained stable. The readmission rate (per 100 discharges) for all asthma was 2.42 and not significantly different between Pathway and non-Pathway groups. CONCLUSIONS: Pathway implementation reduced LOS and stabilized charges while not increasing readmission rates. The Pathway facilitated sustainable widely adopted improvements in asthma care.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Magruder TG; Narayanan S; Walley S; Powers T; Whitlock H; Harrington K; Wall TC
  • Start Page

  • e041
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 5