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Effect of an Asthma Guideline in 2 Pediatric Emergency Departments and an Urgent Care Center

Dilts, Jennifer J. DO, MHA*†; Humiston, Sharon G. MD, MPH*†; Lee, Brian R. MPH, PhD*; Allen, Nancy H. MS, MLS*; Michael, Jeffrey G. DO*†

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001058
Original Articles

Objectives The objective of this study was to evaluate ordering of albuterol via metered-dose inhaler with spacer (MDI-spacer), length of stay (LOS), and 72-hour return rates before and after publication of an internally developed pediatric asthma clinical practice guideline (CPG).

Methods The internally developed CPG reflected national recommendations. It was explained at faculty meetings by a respected clinician and published on the intranet on February 6, 2012. We performed a retrospective study of visits from January 1, 2009, to October 31, 2014, by children aged 2 to 17 years with a primary diagnosis of asthma and discharged from a target site (2 pediatric emergency departments and 1 urgent care center). We excluded critical/emergent visits and those by patients who transferred to the emergency department/urgent care center from another facility or were admitted. We extracted data for 37 months before and 33 months after CPG implementation (post-CPG) using a single electronic health record system.

Results Albuterol delivery via MDI-spacer increased by 33.95% (P < 0.0001) during 1-month post-CPG implementation with no significant subsequent decrease. An unexpected decline was noted for median LOS before CPG implementation (−1.24 minutes; P < 0.0001). For MDI-spacer–treated patients post-CPG, decreased median LOS was maintained and there was decreased variability of the median LOS (P < 0.001). For nebulizer-treated patients post-CPG, median LOS increased (.95 minutes; P = 0.033). No change was observed for 72-hour return rates.

Conclusions Implementation of an asthma CPG increased ordering of albuterol via MDI-spacer. The increase was sustained over time in all study sites. Decreased variability in median LOS for MDI-spacer patients was observed post-CPG. Median LOS for those treated with MDI-spacer exclusively remained unchanged in the post-CPG period, whereas post-CPG LOS increased in those who received nebulized albuterol.

From the *Children's Mercy Hospital;

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supported by the Division of Emergency Medicine and Urgent Care and Center for Clinical Effectiveness, Children's Mercy Hospital.

Reprints: Jennifer Dilts, DO, MHA, Children's Mercy Urgent Care Center, Northland, 501 NW Barry Rd, Kansas City, MO 64155 (e-mail:

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