A study of emergency department (ED) care during acute asthma attacks found inconsistencies in how well hospitals meet nationally established guidelines.
The study, published online on September 26, 2014, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, compared patient charts for asthma exacerbation ED visits between 1997 and 2001 with patient charts from 2011 to 2012. According to the study, the achievement of guidelines defining appropriate pharmacologic treatments for particular patients improved over the study period. However, achievement of guidelines for pulmonary function assessment and timeliness of care declined to an extent that outweighed the improvement in medication delivery.
“We found a substantial increase in overall patient volume in these EDs over the study period, which agrees with several nationwide studies,” corresponding author Kohei Hasegawa, MD, said in a press release. “It is plausible that overcrowding may contribute to the decline in meeting guidelines that are based on weaker published evidence.”