Background: Atopic eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis (AR) create a serious burden on general practice resources. Aim: To investigate the use of general practice resources (that is, consultation visits, telephone contacts, and home visits) in children with physician-diagnosed atopic disorders (ADs). Design & setting: In a nested index-control study design, all children (here defined as individuals aged 2-18 years) listed in a representative general practice database were selected in 2014. Method: Children diagnosed with ADs were matched on age and sex with non-atopic controls within the same practice. For all the different groups, the number and frequency of children contacting the GP were calculated. Results: Of the children with atopic eczema (n = 15 202), 80% consulted the GP in 2014 (controls = 67%). Of the children with asthma (n = 7754), 80% consulted the GP (controls = 65%), and for children with AR (n = 6710), this was 82% (controls = 66%). Of the children with all three ADs, 91% consulted the GP (controls = 68%). On average, a child with atopic eczema contacted the GP 2.8 times/year (controls = 1.9); for children with asthma, the contact frequency was 3.0 (controls = 1.9); and for AR, 3.2 (controls = 1.9). For children with all three ADs, the contact frequency was 4.3 (controls = 2.0). Consultations related to the ADs investigated only explain a smaller part of the increased healthcare utilisation in atopic children. Conclusion: Atopic children use more general practice resources compared to non-atopic children, yet frequently for morbidity or other health-related questions not related to one of the ADs.

Allergic rhinitis, Asthma, Atopic eczema, Epidemiology, General practice, Healthcare utilisation,
Department of General Practice

Pols, D.H.J, Nielen, M.M.J. (Mark M.J.), Bohnen, A.M, Korevaar, J.C, & Bindels, P.J.E. (2018). Increased healthcare utilisation among atopic children in a general practice database: A nested index-control study. BJGP Open, 2(1). doi:10.3399/bjgpopen18X101349