Evaluating the Value of the Respiratory Therapist: Where Is the Evidence? Focus on the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Experience.

Link to article at PubMed

Evaluating the Value of the Respiratory Therapist: Where Is the Evidence? Focus on the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Experience.

Respir Care. 2017 Dec;62(12):1602-1610

Authors: Kollef MH

Abstract
Currently, >20 million people in the United States have asthma, and approximately 15 million adults have been diagnosed with COPD, with approximately the same number not yet having been diagnosed with this condition. Moreover, the overall burden of respiratory diseases is still increasing, in part due to environmental factors, such as air pollution. At the same time, the number of patients requiring hospitalization as well as the number of individuals admitted to ICUs from emergency departments has been on the rise over the last decade. Because of the cost to the health-care system, the burden of respiratory diseases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions also falls on society; it is paid for with tax dollars, higher health insurance rates, and lost productivity. Respiratory therapists (RTs) are in a unique position to influence health-care delivery in a number of settings that include acutely ill hospitalized patients and those with chronic conditions in ambulatory settings. Clinical studies have demonstrated the value of RTs in specific areas, including the performance of medical procedures, the development and implementation of protocols aimed at weaning patients from mechanical ventilation and providing lung-protective ventilation, optimal delivery of in-patient respiratory treatments, the application of disease management programs for COPD, and as part of rapid response teams. However, due to increasing scrutiny of health-care expenditures and limited resources, there is a growing need to document the impact of health-care providers in terms of clinical outcomes. As a profession, RTs should continue to describe the impact they have on patient outcomes and the value they bring to our health-care system. Promoting such investigative outcomes research, along with enhancing the professional aspects of the field of respiratory care, will ensure that the value of RTs does not go unappreciated.

PMID: 29162728 [PubMed - in process]

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