Protocol Power

by Annette Rhine, RRT, AE-C, AS, BA

The world of hospitals and healthcare is changing rapidly. They are working diligently to change things for the better. They are finding ways to help improve the cost healthcare plus keep our patients and their families healthy and satisfied. IU Health is at the forefront of these changes. The implementation of protocols driven by the appropriate professionals is proven to impact healthcare positively.

May 2nd launched a new Pediatric Asthma Assessment program for IU Health. The new protocol is a Respiratory Therapist driven protocol which provides a process for the appropriate weaning of bronchodilator medications, – albuterol and ipratropium. It includes the proper doses and the most effective modes of delivery. The preferred route of delivery will be metered dose inhaler (MDI) with a valved holding chamber or spacer. It will encompass those patients who have the diagnoses of status asthmaticus, asthma exacerbation, or reactive airway disease. At every scheduled treatment the RT will assess for clinical improvement and will wean or not wean based on a set of criteria which create a Pediatric Asthma Score (PAS). We should see several things happen with the new protocol. We should see a decrease in patient length of stay and an increase in Respiratory Therapist satisfaction.

Annette Rhine, RRT, AE-C, AS, BA

LOS (length of stay) data is tracked on a regular basis. Tracking is done a couple of ways; inpatient-to-inpatient and inpatient/observation to inpatient/observation. The most beneficial data to gauge if the LOS is decreasing will be inpatient/observation-to-inpatient/observation because patients do not go to inpatient until day 3 so the LOS in that category would never go below 3. To date, we have already seen a decrease in the LOS, but as things continue to pick up from the slow down (due to COVID 19), we should be better able to see an improvement.

RT protocols increase RT satisfaction. They allow RT’s to use their skills and knowledge to help create a standard of care which improves outcomes of our patients. RT driven protocols elevate our profession and allows us to operate at the full scope of our practice. Overall, a huge win for our patients, RT’s, and IU Health.