BY TINA SHELTON – A study of cases involving children in Hawai‘i, conducted by the UH Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), has found that regularly scheduled checkups can reduce the odds that keiki will end up in the hospital.
The checkups, called “well-child care visits,” have been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1967.
Pediatrician Jeffrey Tom of Kaiser Permanente has published the results of a study conducted with his JABSOM colleagues, Drs. Chien-Wen Tseng and James Davis. The physicians analyzed the billing data of nearly 37,000 local children younger than 3 ½ over a period of seven years, from 1999-2006.
“We wanted to establish, for the first time, evidence that taking your child to regular well-child care visits can decrease hospitalizations above and beyond seeing the same healthcare provider,” said Dr. Tom, who began the study while a research fellow in the medical school’s Department of Pediatrics. “We found the most dramatic affect for children who have chronic diseases, such as asthma. In those cases, timely well-child care visits reduced by half the chance of hospitalization.”
The results are published in November’s Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The study, supported by grants from the Health Resources and Service Administration and the National Institutes of Health, examined Hawai‘i children covered by HMSA, Hawai‘i’s largest private insurer.
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Dr. Tom is an assistant investigator at the Kaiser Center for Health Research and a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i. He may be reached at (808) 271-2935.
Dr. Tseng is with JABSOM’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and Dr. Davis is faculty in the medical school’s Department of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), UH Mānoa was established in 1965 and has trained more than 4,500 medical doctors through its MD or residency program. Half of Hawai‘i’s practicing physicians are faculty members or graduates of JABSOM or the Hawai‘i Residency Program. JABSOM also trains Public Health professionals. More than 3,500 MPH, MS, DrPH and PhD degrees have been awarded from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. For more information about JABSOM, visit http://jabsom.hawaii.edu.