Study objectives: To evaluate the impact of a multifactorial intervention to improve the quality, efficiency, and patient understanding of care for community-acquired pneumonia.
Design: Times series cohort study.
Setting: Four academic health centers in the New York City metropolitan area.
Patients or participants: All consecutive adults hospitalized for pneumonia during a 5-month period before (n = 1,013) and after (n = 1,081) implementation of an inpatient quality improvement (QI) initiative.
Interventions: A multidisciplinary team of opinion leaders developed evidence-based treatment guidelines and critical pathways, conducted educational sessions with physicians, distributed pocket reminder cards, promoted standardized orders, and developed bilingual patient education materials.
Measurements and results: The average age was 71.4 years, and 44.1% of cases were low risk, 36.8% were moderate risk, and 19.2% were high risk. The preintervention and postintervention groups were well matched on age, sex, race, nursing home residence, pneumonia severity, initial presentation, and most major comorbidities. The intervention increased the use of guideline-recommended antimicrobial therapy from 78.1 to 83.4% (p = 0.003). There was also a borderline decrease in the proportion of patients being discharged prior to becoming clinically stable, from 27.0 to 23.5% (p = 0.06). However, there were no improvements in the other targeted indicators, including time to first dose of antibiotics, proportion receiving antibiotics within 8 h, timely switch to oral antibiotics, timely discharge, length of stay, or patient education outcomes.
Conclusions: This real-world QI program was able to improve modestly on some quality indicators, but not effect resource use or patient knowledge of their disease. Changing physician and organizational behavior in academic health centers will require the development and implementation of more intensive, system-oriented strategies.