Asthma is a leading cause of pediatric emergency department (ED) visits. A metered-dose inhaler and spacer (MDI-S) device is equivalent to and more cost effective than delivery by nebulization in the ED management of mild asthma exacerbations. We aimed to increase the use of albuterol MDI-S among patients with mild asthma exacerbations using a quality improvement framework.
We evaluated albuterol use for mild asthma exacerbations between January 2019 and March 2020 in our pediatric EDs.
Our primary outcome was the proportion of albuterol delivered through an MDI-S. Our process measure was the use of a new electronic order set. Balancing measures included ED length of stay, admission rates, and the use of intravenous magnesium. Interventions included forging multidisciplinary partnerships, revising clinical practice guidelines, establishing an electronic order set, and leading educational initiatives for clinicians. We demonstrated a center line shift of MDI-S use from 34.4% to 47.7%. The average length of stay, hospital admissions, and magnesium use were not affected by our interventions.
Forging multidisciplinary partnerships, creating an electronic order set prioritizing albuterol MDI-S use, and educational initiatives led to a sustained increase in albuterol MDI-S use for mild asthma in our pediatric EDs.

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