Implementation of Pulmonary Function Testing in Rural Primary Care

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Pulmonary function testing (PFT) is recommended by guidelines for the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the diagnosis and monitoring of asthma. Portable in-office tests offer rural patients and providers information previously more difficult to obtain because of hospital closures, transportation barriers, and cost. This article describes the successful implementation and measurement of in-office PFT in 3 rural primary care offices. Providers were more likely to order a PFT for patients with asthma (33%) than a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (9.7%). Recommendations include increased staff involvement and repeat education midimplementation.