The Journal of Pain Summary
Highlight from The Journal of Pain (Volume 19, No. 9, September 2018 Issue)
Healthcare Utilization and Costs Associated with Pediatric Chronic Pain
Dmitry Tumin, David Drees, Rebecca Miller, Sharon Wrona, Don Hayes Jr., Joseph D. Tobias, Tarun Bhalla
A new study published in The Journal of Pain shows an estimated 6% of U.S. children have chronic pain and a high rate of emergency care.
Healthcare utilization in children with chronic pain is poorly understood. Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, sought to characterize the prevalence of chronic pain among children in the United States, compare the use of primacy care, specialty care and emergency department (ED) visits, and define which services are most likely to be used by children with chronic pain.
The study was based on data from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health using a sample of 43,712 children.
Results of the analysis showed that among the estimated 6% of U.S. children with chronic pain, a higher prevalence were older children, those from low-income families, children whose parents do not have college degrees, and those covered by public insurance programs. The authors concluded that chronic pain is associated with increased likelihood of using complementary and alternative medicine, emergency care, and specialty health services, with the exception of mental health providers.
The authors noted that the higher likelihood of ED use among children with chronic pain might indicate the impact of undertreated chronic pain in children. Therefore, monitoring the healthcare utilization of children with chronic pain can help to optimize the efficacy and cost effectiveness of services provided for this population.