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Quality Improvement Methods Improve Asthma Care

Improved timely administration of short-acting β-agonist with use of standardized asthma score

asthma inhaler

THURSDAY, Oct. 27, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of quality improvement (QI) methods can improve timely administration of short-acting β-agonists (SABAs) for acute asthma in a pediatric emergency department, according to a study published online Oct. 26 in Pediatrics.

Matthew P. Gray, M.D., from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and colleagues used QI methods to improve emergency department asthma care in accordance with national guidelines. Interventions were targeted at four key drivers: knowledge, engagement, decision support, and workflow enhancement.

The researchers observed an increase in asthma severity scoring from 0 to >95 percent in triage and to >75 percent for repeat scores. There was an improvement of 32.8 minutes in the time to first SABA (T1; 47 percent). For low- and high-severity patients, T1 improved by 17.6 minutes (28 percent) and by 3.1 to 18.1 minutes (15 percent), respectively. There was an improvement in time to third SABA (T3) by 30 minutes (24 percent). For low- and high-severity patients, T3 improved by 42.5 and 21 minutes, respectively (29 and 23 percent). For low-severity patients discharged to home, the emergency department length of stay improved by 29.3 minutes (15 percent).

"We implemented standardized asthma severity scoring with high rates of compliance, improved timely administration of β-agonist treatments, demonstrated early improvements in emergency department length of stay, and reduced admission rates without increasing unplanned return admissions," the authors write.

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