Pols, D.H.J., Nielen, M.M.J., Bohnen, A.M., Korevaar, J.C., Bindels, P.J.E.
Increased healthcare utilisation among atopic children in a general practice database: a nested index-control study.
BJGP Open, (2018) ,
Background: Atopic eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis (AR) create a serious burden on general practice resources.
Aim: To investigate the use of general practice resources (that is, consultation visits, telephone contacts, and home visits) in children with physician-diagnosed atopic disorders (ADs).
Design & setting: In a nested index-control study design, all children (here defined as individuals aged 2–18 years) listed in a representative general practice database were selected in 2014.
Method: Children diagnosed with ADs were matched on age and sex with non-atopic controls within the same practice. For all the different groups, the number and frequency of children contacting the GP were calculated.
Results: Of the children with atopic eczema (n = 15 202), 80% consulted the GP in 2014 (controls = 67%). Of the children with asthma (n = 7754), 80% consulted the GP (controls = 65%), and for children with AR (n = 6710), this was 82% (controls = 66%). Of the children with all three ADs, 91% consulted the GP (controls = 68%). On average, a child with atopic eczema contacted the GP 2.8 times/year (controls = 1.9); for children with asthma, the contact frequency was 3.0 (controls = 1.9); and for AR, 3.2 (controls = 1.9). For children with all three ADs, the contact frequency was 4.3 (controls = 2.0). Consultations related to the ADs investigated only explain a smaller part of the increased healthcare utilisation in atopic children.
Conclusion: Atopic children use more general practice resources compared to non-atopic children, yet frequently for morbidity or other health-related questions not related to one of the ADs. (aut. ref.)