Characteristics of asthma care provided by hospitals in a large metropolitan area: Results from the Chicago Asthma Surveillance Initiative

Evalyn N. Grant, Tao Li, Christopher S. Lyttle, Kevin B. Weiss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: Little is known of the approaches of United States hospitals to the management of persons with asthma. The purpose of this study is to characterize the extent to which hospitals within a large community have implemented various types of asthma-specific health-care delivery processes. Methods: A cross-sectional, self-administered survey was mailed to a 'key informant' in asthma care at each of the hospitals in the Chicago area. The survey instrument covered the following content areas: asthma- related inpatient services, asthma-related outpatient services, selected asthma-related quality improvement activities, and asthma-related community outreach. The survey was administered between August 1996 and January 1997. Results: Data were collected from respondents at 59 of the 89 eligible hospitals, yielding a response rate of 66.3%. Of the responding hospitals, 42.4% indicated they had clinical practice guidelines for inpatient asthma management, and 37.3% reported using critical pathways. Four selected aspects of bedside care were also explored. All of the responding hospitals reported routine provision of nebulization therapy at the bedside, and nearly all routinely obtained peak flow measurements (96.6%). In the area of patient instruction, 93.2% provided bedside evaluation of proper inhaler technique, and 86.4% routinely provided instruction on the use of peak flowmeters. Only 54.0% of the hospitals reported routinely administering some type of asthma education program prior to discharge. The hospitals with clinical practice guidelines in place were also more likely to have critical pathways (p < 0.01); to have asthma-specific ICU policies/guidelines/critical pathways (p < 0.01); to provide bedside instruction on the use of peak flowmeters (p < 0.01); to provide an asthma education (p < 0.01) prior to discharge; and to conduct utilization review. Very few hospitals indicated that they had community outreach programs for asthma care. Conclusion: The results of this survey suggest that among Chicago-area hospitals appropriate bedside care for persons with asthma is provided, but there are large variations in other types of asthma services and programs. The hospitals that have adopted asthma clinical practice guidelines are more likely to have other asthma-specific quality improvement activities than hospitals without guidelines. This relationship between use of guidelines and quality of services needs further exploration, as it may prove to be an important marker for hospitals with staff that are interested in improving asthma care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162S-167S
Issue number4 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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