Original Article | Open Access
Spirometry in Primary Care: An Analysis of Spirometry Test Quality in a Regional Primary Care Asthma Program
BACKGROUND: Primary care office spirometry can improve access to testing and concordance between clinical practice and asthma guidelines. Compliance with test quality standards is essential to implementation.OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the quality of spirometry performed onsite in a regional primary care asthma program (RAP) by health care professionals with limited training.METHODS: Asthma educators were trained to perform spirometry during two 2 h workshops and supervised during up to six patient encounters. Quality was analyzed using American Thoracic Society (ATS) 1994 and ATS/European Respiratory Society (ERS) 2003 (ATS/ERS) standards. These results were compared with two regional reference sites: a primary care group practice (Family Medical Centre [FMC], Windsor, Ontario) and a teaching hospital pulmonary function laboratory (London Health Sciences Centre [LHSC], London, Ontario).RESULTS: A total of 12,815 flow-volume loops (FVL) were evaluated: RAP – 1606 FVL in 472 patient sessions; reference sites – FMC 4013 FVL in 573 sessions; and LHSC – 7196 in 1151 sessions. RAP: There were three acceptable FVL in 392 of 472 (83%) sessions, two reproducible FVL according to ATS criteria in 428 of 469 (91%) sessions, and 395 of 469 (84%) according to ATS/ERS criteria. All quality criteria – minimum of three acceptable and two reproducible FVL according to ATS criteria in 361 of 472 (77%) sessions and according to ATS/ERS criteria in 337 of 472 (71%) sessions. RAP met ATS criteria more often than the FMC (388 of 573 [68%]); however, less often than LHSC (1050 of 1151 [91%]; P<0.001).CONCLUSIONS: Health care providers with limited training and experience operating within a simple quality program achieved ATS/ERS quality spirometry in the majority of sessions in a primary care setting. The quality performance approached pulmonary function laboratory standards.
Copyright © 2012 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.