Article Abstract

Nationwide pulmonary function test rates in South Korean asthma patients

Authors: Joon Young Choi, Hyoung Kyu Yoon, Jae Ha Lee, Kwang Ha Yoo, Bo Yeon Kim, Hye Won Bae, Young Kyoon Kim, Chin Kook Rhee


Background: Previous studies have shown that pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are performed at considerably lower rates than would be expected if standard guidelines were followed. The goal of this study was to evaluate the current status of PFT performance in the Republic of Korea.
Methods: We analysed quality assessment data from a nationwide Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service database collected from July 2013 to June 2014. PFT performance rates were compared among types and specialties of medical institutions. PFT performance rates were also measured by patient gender, age, and insurance type. Possession rates of PFT equipment and performance rates of each type of PFT were also evaluated.
Results: A total of 16,804 institutions and 831,613 patients were included in this study. The mean overall PFT performance rate was 22.67%. The performance rate in tertiary hospitals was 78.00%, while PFTs were performed in only 20.87% of asthma patients at primary health clinics. Male and elderly patients received PFTs more frequently than did female and younger patients. Also, patients who were covered by the Korean Veterans Health Service received a PFT more frequently than those covered by other insurance services. The possession rate of PFT equipment was significantly higher in tertiary hospitals than in primary health clinics. Of all PFT types, spirometry with flow-volume curve was performed for most patients.
Conclusions: The PFT performance rate was significantly lower than would be expected if guidelines were followed. Average performance rates were higher in tertiary hospitals and for male and elderly patients.