May 29—Young children who missed more than half of recommended well-child visits had 1.4 to 2.0 times the risk of hospitalization compared to children who attended most of their visits, according to a study in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Children with chronic conditions like asthma and heart disease who missed more than half of their visits had 1.9 to 3.2 times the risk of hospitalization compared with those who attended most of their visits. The study included 20,065 children who were enrolled at Group Health Cooperative from 1999 to 2006, following the children from birth until age 3.5 years or until their first hospital stay, whichever came first.

Overall, 4 percent of children in the study—and 9 percent of children with chronic conditions—were hospitalized, with the two most common reasons for hospitalization in both groups being pneumonia and asthma.

The findings might not apply to all health systems because it was conducted in an integrated healthcare system where the majority of children attend most of their well-child visits and tend to have families with higher-than-average income and education, according to the study’s authors.

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2013