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Gac Sanit 14:195-202. Published in Spanish.
Centro de Salud de Astrabudúa (Bizkaia), Osakidetza-Servicio Vasco de Salud, Bilbao, Spain
OBJECTIVES: To analyze the relationship between pediatric patients morbidity and their level of primary health care services use; and to establish if the patients level of use affects the health promotion and immunization schedule completion.
METHODS: All patients assigned to a pediatric practice of the Basque National Health Service in Astrabudua (Bizkaia, Spain) over a 6-year period were categorized into different utilization patterns according to their age and number of primary care visits (whose principal reason for encounter was different from health promotion activities). Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed comparing three groups of subjects: 116 consistently high users, 115 consistently low users and 123 patients classified as consistently medium or erratic users. Ambulatory care Groups (ACGs) case-mix system was used to manage pathologies.
RESULTS: High use patients experienced several morbidity types most frequently than low use ones: asthma (OR = 44.7; 95% CI = 5.5-206.1), diseases likely to recurr (OR = 33.5; 95% CI = 8.5-131.6), specialty unstable chronic conditions (OR = 10.8; 95% CI = 2.2-52.8), psychosocial conditions (OR = 5.7; 95% CI = 2.1-15.2), chronic medical stable conditions (OR = 4.0; 95% CI = 1.9-8.6), eye/dental diseases (OR = 3.5; 95% CI = 1.5-8.1). On the other hand, low users were more likely to be lacking completion of the immunization (OR = 3.0; 95% CI = 1.1-8.8) and the well-child care program visits schedules (OR = 4.3; 95% CI = 2.3-8.0).
CONCLUSION: Our data confirm that high utilization, far from being inadequate behavior, is an adequate response to the higher health care needs showed by such patients. Primary care pediatricians should assess preventive care needs of the children who consult them infrequently.
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