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Respir Care. 2000 Aug;45(8):945-52.

The impact of a respiratory therapy consult service on house officers' knowledge of respiratory care ordering.

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  • 1Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.



Although available studies show that implementation of respiratory care protocols by respiratory therapists can enhance the allocation of respiratory care services, concern has been expressed that respiratory therapists' involvement in assessing patients and in determining treatment plans may detract from medical trainees' education and experience in ordering respiratory care services.


Compare the rates of correct responses to case-based questions about respiratory care ordering in two groups of internal medicine house officers at academic medical centers: one group training at an institution using respiratory care protocols (The Cleveland Clinic Foundation) and the other group training in an institution at which respiratory care protocols have not been used (University of Nebraska).


Prospective cohort study.


Two academic medical centers, one using respiratory protocols and the other not using respiratory care protocols.


Percent of correct responses to questions regarding respiratory care management posed in 5 case studies administered to both groups.


Responses were available from 41 and 17 internal medicine house officers at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and University of Nebraska, respectively. Respondents represented postgraduate years one, two, and three, and constituted a similar percentage of all internal medicine house officers at each institution (33%). The rate of correct responses to the 20 questions posed in the 5 case studies was high overall (76.8%) and similar in the two house staff groups (77.2 +/- 11.6% at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and 75.8 +/- 12.0% at University of Nebraska, p = 0.69). The 95% confidence interval for the difference straddled zero (-5.4%, 8.1%), making it very unlikely that any important difference exists between the two groups in rate of correct responses. Analysis of covariance also showed no difference between groups, suggesting that postgraduate training level did not affect this conclusion. In one of the 5 case studies, the percent of correct responses was higher among trainees where respiratory care protocols were in use (86.8 +/- 18% at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation vs 69.1 +/- 14% at University of Nebraska, p = 0.0001).


In this comparison of internal medicine house officers' knowledge regarding respiratory care ordering at institutions using versus not using respiratory care protocols, the rates of correct responses by both groups were similar and unlikely to differ significantly. For one of the 5 case studies, respondents from the institution using respiratory care protocols scored significantly higher. Taken together, these results suggest that use of respiratory care protocols implemented by respiratory therapists does not detract from internal medicine trainees' expertise in respiratory care management. Whether these results generalize to other institutions or reflect expertise in actual practice remains uncertain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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