Background: Atopic dermatitis is an important cause of morbidity in children of all ages. Despite its high prevalence, there has been no examination of ways in which care for atopic dermatitis is delivered.
Objective: This study reviewed the costs for care of childhood atopic dermatitis in an urban setting and estimated the national cost for treatment of the disease.
Methods: We used data from one children's hospital to study the use of the emergency room for atopic dermatitis and used national data sets to estimate the cost of care in the United States.
Results: A large proportion of visits occur in the emergency department, during daytime office hours, and mostly by patients who have public insurance. The total national cost for treatment of childhood atopic dermatitis is $364 million annually, which is a conservative estimate.
Conclusion: Given its high prevalence, associated morbidity, and cost, resources must be better allocated to improve the organization of care for patients with atopic dermatitis.