An Evidence-Based Clinical Pathway for Bronchiolitis Safely Reduces Antibiotic Overuse

The overuse of antibiotics in the management of bronchiolitis is widely known, yet physician practice has been slow to change. We report here on the success of a clinical pathway in reducing antibiotic overuse in the inpatient management of bronchiolitis. The charts of 181 children admitted for bronchiolitis were reviewed to determine whether antibiotic use was reduced in patients managed using a clinical pathway compared with a matched group of patients managed without use of the pathway (non-pathway group). Only 9% of the pathway patients received antibiotics compared with 27% of the nonpathway group. No negative effects were seen on other quality measures including unplanned return for care. Furthermore, for patients managed using the clinical pathway, cost and length of stay were significantly reduced. Overall, the study suggests that implementation of a clinical pathway may be an effective means to change physician practice and reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics, while maintaining or improving other aspects of quality of care.


HuisartsengeneeskundeKindergeneeskundeOrganizational interventionsPatient directed interventionsBehandeling zonder medicatie



Wilson SD
Dahl BB
Wells RD