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Deficits Seen in Quality of Care Delivered to Children

On average, children in the study received less than half of indicated measures in ambulatory care

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Children face similar deficits as adults in the quality of the ambulatory care they receive, according to a report published in the Oct. 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Rita Mangione-Smith, M.D., of the University of Washington Child Health Institute in Seattle, and colleagues obtained written consent from the parents of 1,536 children to obtain two years of medical records.

Overall, the researchers found children received 46.5 percent of indicated care, which is similar to the rate previously observed for adults (54.9 percent). The investigators also found that children received 67.5 percent of indicated care for acute medical problems, 53.4 percent of indicated care for chronic medical conditions, and 40.7 percent of indicated preventive care.

"Improvement of the performance of the children's health care system will require systemwide change; entreaties to hard-working and deeply caring pediatricians, family physicians, nurses and hospital staff to work harder and care more will not succeed by themselves," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "Effecting change will require leadership across all levels and systems involved in children's health care and a wholehearted commitment by those who deliver care, pay for care and receive care. Leaders must recognize that the current system does not meet children's needs and must take action."

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