Article Title

Domiciliary oxygen therapy services in Tasmania: Prescription, usage and impact of a specialist clinic


Objective: To assess the use of domiciliary oxygen therapy (DOT) in Tasmania and the impact of a specialist oxygen clinic on service provision.

Design: Retrospective observational study.

Participants and setting: Patients prescribed government-funded DOT in Tasmania between December 2002 and April 2004.

Main outcome measures: Indications for DOT; usage, prescription, reassessment and costs of DOT; influence of a specialist-run oxygen clinic.

Results: 490 patients were using DOT, an overall rate of 102 patients per 100 000 population (varying between regions from 95 to 116 per 100 000 population). Of 267 patients (54%) prescribed DOT during hospitalisation, only 72% met national guidelines for DOT at commencement. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was the most common indication (48% of prescriptions). The median time to reassessment after prescription was 5.5 months. Median usage in patients with COPD was 18.3 hours per day. The average cost per patient was $1498 per year, but differed regionally in relation to costs of ambulatory supplies. The oxygen clinic in the north-west region substantially reduced oxygen prescriptions, improved compliance with guidelines, decreased time to first reassessment from 21 to 6.6 months, and produced major cost savings.

Conclusions: Prescription of DOT was often not in keeping with national guidelines. Reassessment was poor, despite more than half the patients being prescribed DOT as an inpatient. A dedicated oxygen clinic resulted in more appropriate prescription, decreased time to reassessment and a reduction in costs.



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