The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1824-7288-40-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
LL contributed to the conception of this paper, conceived the study design and drafted the manuscript; JL conceived the statistical methodology, performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript; KMM participated in the study design and helped to draft the manuscript; SR took responsibility for the integrity of the data and performed the statistical analysis; GD provided data sources and participated in the study design; GC critically revised the draft and contributed to the final writing of the paper; MPF contributed to the conception of this paper, conceived the study design and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Quality assessment in pediatric care has recently gained momentum. Although many of the approaches to indicator development are similar regardless of the population of interest, few nationwide sets of indicators specifically designed for assessment of primary care of children exist. We performed an empirical analysis of the validity of “Pediatric Asthma Hospitalization Rate” indicator under the assumption that lower admission rates are associated with better performance of primary health care.
The validity of “Pediatric Asthma Hospitalization Rate” indicator proposed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the Italian context was investigated with a focus on selection of diagnostic codes, hospitalization type, and risk adjustment. Seasonality and regional variability of hospitalization rates for asthma were analyzed for Italian children aged 2–17 years discharged between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2011 using the hospital discharge records database. Specific rates were computed for age classes: 2–4, 5–9, 10–14, 15–17 years.
In the years 2009–2011 the number of pediatric hospitalizations for asthma was 14,389 (average annual rate: 0.52 per 1,000) with a large variability across regions. In children aged 2–4 years, the risk of hospitalization for asthma was 14 times higher than in adolescents, then it dropped to 4 in 5- to 9-year-olds and to 1.1 in 10- to 14-year-olds. The inclusion of diagnoses of bronchitis revealed that asthma and bronchitis are equally represented as causes of hospital admissions and have a similar seasonality in preschool children, while older age groups experience hospital admissions mainly in spring and fall, this pattern being consistent with a diagnosis of atopic asthma. Rates of day hospital admissions for asthma were up to 5 times higher than the national average in Liguria and some Southern regions, and close to zero in some Northern regions.
The patterns of hospitalization for pediatric asthma in Italy showed that at least two different indicators are needed to measure accurately the quality of care provided to children. The candidate indicators should also include day hospital admissions to better assess accessibility. Future evaluation by a structured clinical panel review at the national level might be helpful to refine indicator definitions and risk groupings, to determine appropriate application for such measures, and to make recommendations to policy makers.
Additional file 1: Figure S1: Percentages of hospital admissions for asthma and bronchitis by region (5–17 years). Data source: Ministry of Health. (PDF 3 KB)13052_2013_551_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
Additional file 2: Figure S2: Caterpillar plots of age-standardized regional admission rates (per 1,000) for asthma (blue) and for asthma and bronchitis (red) (5–17 years). Note: Dashed line, national average.Data source: Ministry of Health. (PDF 8 KB)13052_2013_551_MOESM2_ESM.pdf
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- Empirical validation of the “Pediatric Asthma Hospitalization Rate” indicator
Kathryn Mack McDonald
Maria Pia Fantini
- BioMed Central
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