Occurrence of patients compared in a pediatric practice and pediatric hospital outpatient clinic

J Child Health Care. 2019 Dec;23(4):512-521. doi: 10.1177/1367493519853431. Epub 2019 May 26.


The frequency of consultations and the waiting times in pediatric hospital outpatient clinics are steadily increasing. The aim of this study was to compare the occurrence of patients in a large pediatric group practice and a hospital-based general pediatric outpatient clinic. Primary parameters were the most common reasons for consultation, the waiting times and the reasons for selecting a certain institution. Most frequent diagnoses in the pediatric practice were upper respiratory tract infections (22.7% (n = 141/621)), otitis media (5.2% (n = 32/621)), and viral pharyngitis (3.9% (n = 24/621)). Most common reasons for consultation in the hospital outpatient clinic were upper respiratory tract infections (18.4% (n = 121/658)) and bacterial pharyngitis (17.9% (n = 118/658)). In the pediatric practice, bacterial pharyngitis was only diagnosed in 3.1% (n = 19/621) of the cases. Only slight differences exist between the two institutions regarding the observed entities, which mainly comprise mild to moderate acute illnesses. It can be concluded from this that the majority of patients might as well be treated in the nonhospital setting. Facilitating the communication and coordination between practices and hospitals might allow a better utilization of capacities. Thereby, waiting times, unnecessary reexaminations, and costs in the health-care system could be reduced.

Keywords: Common diagnoses; health-care system; outpatient clinic; patient occurrence; pediatric practice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Otitis Media / diagnosis
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Outpatients*
  • Pediatrics*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis