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Am J Manag Care. 1999 Jun;5(6):749-63.

The role of respiratory care practitioners in a changing healthcare system: emerging areas of clinical practice.

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The Lewin Group, Fairfax, VA, USA.



To evaluate shifts in respiratory care practice in the context of changing healthcare system and market dynamics.


Telephone survey, structured interview, and case studies.


We conducted a telephone survey of 471 respiratory care practitioners (RCPs), drawn from the membership database of the American Association for Respiratory Care. We also interviewed 10 employers of RCPs and conducted 2 in-depth case studies to supplement our survey results. We used several statistical techniques to analyze our data, including calculation of population-weighted descriptive statistics and multivariate regression models.


Changes in the healthcare system have prompted RCPs to broaden their practice settings, skills, and responsibilities. Respiratory care practitioners are taking part in managed care-related activities, such as cost control and disease management. We found that the need for certain skills and responsibilities varies by practice setting. In our interviews, employers considered RCPs cost effective providers for certain services.


The practice of respiratory care is evolving to meet the changing needs of the healthcare system. A key challenge is to ensure appropriate growth and development of the respiratory care profession, as well as the delivery of appropriate services under new care management settings and processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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