The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care
BACKGROUND: A 1998 audit of spirometry tests done at our institution outside of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory revealed a low percentage (17%) of bedside spirometry tests meeting ATS acceptability and reproducibility criteria.
Methods: We initiated an improvement plan that included the following features:
1. Review of ATS acceptability and reproducibility criteria that was videotaped and made available to all therapists performing spirometry.
2. Limiting the number of operators to a ?core group? to allow more tests/therapist.
3. Availability of hardcopy printouts that allow review of volume-time and flow-volume curves.
4 Central review of all tests by a Pulmonary Function Technologist with constructive feedback on test quality, reproducibility and suggestions for improvement to the operators.
Results: Throughout the course of our review of spirometry tests, the overall percentage of tests judged to be acceptable and reproducible was 63.5%. This was significantly better than our initial audit (17% acceptable and reproducible, P=<0.001, Chi-square). FVC and FEV1 were reproducible in 75.9% of the testing sessions.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that a quality improvement program for bedside spirometry testing that emphasizes a working knowledge of ATS acceptability criteria and review of tests with feedback on test quality can have positive measurable results.