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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 22, Issue 3, Pages 157-162
Original Article

Gaps in the Inpatient Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation and Impact of An Evidence-Based Order Set

Abhijat Kitchlu,1 Tamer Abdelshaheed,2 Elizabeth Tullis,3,4 and Samir Gupta3,4

1Department of Medicine, Core Internal Medicine Training Program, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
2Department of Medicine, Division of Respirology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
3Department of Medicine, Division of Respirology, University of Toronto, Canada
4The Keenan Research Centre in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2015 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.


BACKGROUND: Evidence-based, guideline-recommended practices improve multiple outcomes in patients admitted with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD), but are incompletely implemented in actual practice. Admission order sets with evidence-based diagnostic and therapeutic guidance have enabled quality improvement and guideline implementation in other conditions.

OBJECTIVE: To characterize the magnitude of care gaps and the effect of order sets on quality of care in patients with AECOPD.

METHODS: The authors prospectively designed a standardized chart review protocol to document process of care and health care utilization before and after implementation of AECOPD order sets at an academic hospital in Toronto, Ontario.

RESULTS: A total of 243 total AECOPD admissions and multiple important care gaps were identified. There were 74 admissions in the pre-order set period (January to June 2009) and 169 in the order set period (October 2009 to September 2010). The order set was used in 78 of 169 (46.2%) admissions. In the order set period, we observed improvements in respiratory therapy educational referrals (five of 74 [6.8%] versus 48 of 169 [28.4%]; P<0.01); venous thromboembolism prophylaxis prescriptions (when indicated) (15 of 68 [22.1%] versus 100 of 134 [74.6%]; P<0.01); systemic steroid prescriptions (55 of 74 (74.3%) versus 151 of 169 [89.4%]; P<0.01]); and appropriate antibiotic prescriptions (nine of 24 [37.5%] versus 61 of 88 [69.3%]; P<0.01). The mean (± SD) length of stay also decreased from 6.5±7.7 days before order sets to 4.1±5.0 days with order sets (P=0.017).

CONCLUSIONS: Care gaps in inpatient AECOPD management were large and evidence-based order sets may improve guideline adherence at the point of care. Randomized trials including patient outcomes are required to further evaluate this knowledge translation intervention.