Physician Awareness and Self-reported Use of Local and National Guidelines for Community-acquired Pneumonia

Galen E. Switzer, Ethan A. Halm, Chung Chou H Chang, Brian S. Mittman, Mary B. Walsh, Michael J. Fine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To assess physician awareness and reported use of medical guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), and to identify factors associated with variations in awareness and use of these guidelines. DESIGN: A questionnaire was administered during the preintervention phase of a randomized clinical trial of a pneumonia guideline implementation strategy. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred and fifty-two physicians who managed CAP patients at 7 Pittsburgh, PA hospitals completed the questionnaire. Physician and practice setting characteristics, and physician awareness and reported use of national American Thoracic Society (ATS) and local (hospital-developed) guidelines for CAP were assessed. RESULTS: Overall, 48% reported being influenced by ATS guidelines and 20% reported using these guidelines; 48% were uncertain whether a local pneumonia guideline existed. Only 28% of physicians who knew a local guideline existed reported frequently using the guideline. Use of national ATS guidelines was independently associated with practice as an infectious disease or pulmonary medicine specialist, nonpatient carerelated professional activities, and intellect personality score. Use of local guidelines was independently negatively associated with practice as an infectious disease or pulmonary medicine specialist, and positively associated with positive attitudes toward practice guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate low levels of awareness and use of guidelines for the management of CAP. Key indicators (e.g., medical specialty, fewer clinical duties, and positive attitudes about guidelines) were associated with greater use of national and local guidelines. If replicated with data on actual physician management practices, more effective guideline implementation strategies will be necessary to encourage compliance with practice guidelines for the management of CAP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)816-823
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General Internal Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2003



  • Community-acquired pneumonia
  • Medical practice guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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