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Young children who miss well-child visits are more likely to be hospitalized
Date:5/24/2013

Young children who missed more than half of recommended well-child visits had up to twice the risk of hospitalization compared to children who attended most of their visits, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Managed Care. The study included more than 20,000 children enrolled at Group Health Cooperative.

Children with chronic conditions like asthma and heart disease were even more likely to be hospitalized when they missed visits, according to the study. In fact, children with chronic conditions who missed more than half of the recommended well-child visits had more than three times the risk of being hospitalized compared to children with chronic conditions who attended most of their visits.

"Well-child visits are important because this is where children receive preventive immunizations and develop a relationship with their provider," says lead author Jeffrey Tom, MD, MS, an assistant investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Hawaii. "These visits allow providers to identify health problems early and help to manage those problems so the children are less likely to end up in the hospital."

When he conducted the study Dr. Tom was a senior fellow in the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics.

"Regular preventive care for children with special needs and chronic conditions is even more important, given the risk of possible complications for their conditions, often leading to hospitalizations," added coauthor David C. Grossman, MD, MPH, a senior investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.

The study included 20,065 children who were enrolled in Group Health from 1999 to 2006. Researchers followed the children from birth until age 3.5 years or until their first hospital stay, whichever came first.

During the study period, Group Health recommended nine well-child visits between birth and 3.5 years. The visits start at 3-5
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Contact: Catherine Hylas Saunders
csaunders@golinharris.com
202-585-2603
Kaiser Permanente

Contact: Rebecca Hughes
hughes.r@ghc.org
206-287-2055
Group Health
Source:Eurekalert


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