Effects of continuity of care on emergency department utilization in children with asthma

Am J Manag Care. 2016 Jan 1;22(1):e31-7.


Objectives: To examine whether continuity of ambulatory asthma care can lower asthma-specific emergency department (ED) utilization by children with asthma in Taiwan.

Study design: Retrospective cohort study based on claims data.

Methods: We used the Taiwan National Health Insurance Dataset, 2006 to 2009. The study population was new asthma patients aged 0 to 17 years in 2007, and every case was observed for 2 years. We used the Continuity of Care Index (COCI) to calculate the continuity of ambulatory asthma care in the first year, and estimated the asthma-specific ED utilization in the second year. Two-part hurdle regression was used for statistical analysis.

Results: The 29,277 patients in our study had an average COCI of 0.68 (± 0.31), and 42.3% of patients had an index of 1. More than 1 in 20 patients-1641 (5.61%)-had at least 1 asthma ED visit, and the mean number of visits per user was 1.46 (± 0.99). After controlling for covariates, the groups with medium and low continuity of ambulatory asthma care had 21% (odds ratio [OR], 1.21; 95% CI, 1.06-1.39) and 38% (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.21-1.58) higher asthma-related ED utilization, respectively, than the group with high COCI. However, among users, the number of ED visits was not statistically correlated to the continuity of ambulatory asthma care.

Conclusions: High continuity of ambulatory asthma care can decrease asthma-specific ED utilization risk in children with newly diagnosed asthma in Taiwan. We suggest that providers and the government reinforce the use of follow-up care and education for high-risk groups to improve the continuity of ambulatory asthma care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Continuity of Patient Care*
  • Disease Management
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taiwan / epidemiology