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This study explored the utility of the Johns Hopkins Aggregated Diagnostic Groups (ADGs) as a noncategorical measure of child health in administrative health data. Canadian administrative health records for the province of British Columbia (N = 232,870; children aged 6-10 years) were used to examine the prevalence of specific ADG groupings, including those labeled “major” and/or “chronic,” and other prevalent child health conditions such as asthma, injuries, and psychosocial conditions. Associations with measures of health care service use (physician visits, hospital admissions, and medication use), and socio-demographic characteristics were examined. Overall, 10% of children had conditions that were categorized as “major and/or chronic” ADGs. Children classified with “major” ADGs, and who did not have “chronic” ADGs, had the highest levels of service use, were more likely to be boys, and were most likely to be receiving income-based premium subsidies compared to children classified with other “major and/or chronic” ADGs. Children with “major and/or chronic” ADGs had more physician visits and hospital admissions compared to children classified with “asthma,” “injuries, major,” and “psychosocial, stable” ADGs but lower levels of prescription medication use compared to children with “asthma” and “psychosocial, stable” ADGs. The ADGs differentiated children based on service and medication use, however, prevalent conditions such as asthma and psychosocial conditions also manifested distinct associations. Limitations of the ADG approach are discussed.
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