Factors associated with timing of first outpatient visit after newborn hospital discharge

Acad Pediatr. Jan-Feb 2014;14(1):77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2013.09.009.


Objective: To determine factors associated with newborns having their first outpatient visit (FOV) beyond 3 days after postpartum hospital discharge.

Methods: Retrospective cohort analysis of all newborns born at a large urban university hospital during a 1-year period, discharged home within 96 hours of birth, and with an outpatient visit with an affiliated provider within 60 days after discharge.

Results: Of 3282 newborns, 1440 (44%) had their FOV beyond 3 days after discharge. Newborns born to first-time mothers, breast-feeding, at high risk for hyperbilirubinemia, or with a pathological diagnosis were significantly (P < .05) less likely to have FOV beyond 3 days in adjusted multivariable analysis, while newborns born via Caesarian section, of older gestational age, with Medicaid insurance, or discharged on a Thursday or Friday were more likely to have FOV beyond 3 days. Discharging provider characteristics independently associated with FOV beyond 3 days included family medicine providers, providers out of residency longer, and providers practicing at the institution longer. In addition, practice of outpatient follow-up had an independent impact on timing of FOV. Having an appointment date and time recorded on the nursery record or first appointment with a home nurse decreased the odds that time to FOV was beyond 3 days of discharge.

Conclusions: Physician decisions regarding timing of outpatient visit after newborn discharge may take into account newborn medical and social characteristics, but certain patient, provider, and practice features associated with this timing may represent unrecognized barriers to care.

Keywords: newborn; patient discharge; primary health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pediatrics / organization & administration*
  • Time