What measurement means for bronchitis care

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which are the large airways to the lungs. The tubes swell and produce mucus, which makes you cough as your body tries to get rid of it. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, a low fever, tightness or pain in your chest, or feeling tired. Most cases are caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold and flu.

Although bronchitis can make you feel miserable, antibiotics are not a part of quality care for this health condition. Most cases of acute bronchitis resolve themselves within 10 days, although coughing can last longer. Treatments for acute bronchitis can include getting rest, drinking fluids, avoiding smoke and fumes, and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever to treat fever.

Because most cases of bronchitis are caused by viruses, antibiotics don't work to treat the symptoms. Taking antibiotics when you don't need them can cause more harm than good. A serious problem with using antibiotics when they aren't needed is something called "drug resistance". Bacteria that are drug-resistant are hard for antibiotics to kill, and can cause very serious infections.

The statewide rate of appropriate treatment for bronchitis by all reporting medical groups is 34%. This means 34 of 100 adults between ages 18 and 64 received the correct treatment for bronchitis that did not include antibiotics.

Higher rates of appropriate care for bronchitis can be a sign of strong performance in clinical care. It’s important to know that small differences in percentages don’t necessarily reflect the quality of care you’ll receive with a certain medical group or clinic. It is more important to note the large differences between providers, and speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How we calculate the measure

This measure tells you how successful Minnesota health care providers are in helping patients with bronchitis get better without the use of antibiotics.

This measure is evaluated annually. The current data is based on information collected from health plan billing data for 2014 dates of service. This information is collected under the measure name Avoidance of Antibiotic Treatments in Adults with Acute Bronchitis.