Follow-Up After Asthma Emergency Department Visits and Its Relationship With Subsequent Asthma-Related Utilization

Acad Pediatr. 2022 Apr;22(3S):S125-S132. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.10.015.


Objective: To assess the association between follow-up after an asthma-related emergency department (ED) visit and the likelihood of subsequent asthma-related ED utilization.

Methods: Using data from California Medicaid (2014-2016), and Vermont (2014-2016) and Massachusetts (2013-2015) all-payer claims databases, we identified asthma-related ED visits for patients ages 3 to 21. Follow-up was defined as a visit within 14 days with a primary care provider or an asthma specialist.

Outcome: asthma-related ED revisit after the initial ED visit. Models included logistic regression to assess the relationship between 14-day follow-up and the outcome at 60 and 365 days, and mixed-effects negative binomial regression to assess the relationship between 14-day follow-up and repeated outcome events (# ED revisits/100 child-years). All models accounted for zip-code level clustering.

Results: There were 90,267 ED visits, of which 22.6% had 14-day follow-up. Patients with follow-up were younger and more likely to have commercial insurance, complex chronic conditions, and evidence of prior asthma. 14-day follow-up was associated with decreased subsequent asthma-related ED revisits at 60 days (5.7% versus 6.4%, P < .001) and at 365 days (25.0% versus 28.3%, P < 0.001). Similarly, 14-day follow-up was associated with a decrease in the rate of repeated subsequent ED revisits (66.7 versus 77.3 revisits/100 child-years; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: We found a protective association between outpatient 14-day follow-up and asthma-related ED revisits. This may reflect improved asthma control as providers follow the NHLBI guideline stepwise approach. Our findings highlight an opportunity for improvement, with only 22.6% of those with asthma-related ED visits having 14-day follow-up.

Keywords: access; asthma; emergency department; follow-up; quality measurement; utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma* / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Medicaid
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States
  • Young Adult