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Chest. 1988 May;93(5):1038-42.

Authoritative medical direction can assure cost-beneficial bronchial hygiene therapy.

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Department of Anesthesia, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago.


A bronchial hygiene (BH) program for non-Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients in which regimens are determined by respiratory therapy evaluators is described. The medical director of Respiratory Care was given control of orders by the medical staff and assumed responsibility for the evaluators' decisions. Patterns of BH utilization were analyzed for 24 months and were compared with BH utilization patterns in a preceding similar program in which orders were controlled by primary care physicians. Extra-ICU BH therapy (BHT) decreased by 61 percent and neither morbidity nor mortality was undesirably affected. Cost savings exceeded $250,000 per year. Authoritative medical direction of such a program results in cost-beneficial utilization of BHT, provides an excellent guide for resident physicians to learn appropriate utilization of such therapy, provides for quality assurance and medical necessity documentation, and is well accepted by the medical staff.

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