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Eval Health Prof. 1998 Sep;21(3):332-61.

Diagnostic clusters in infants as child health outcomes. Variation among socioeconomic areas in one community.

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University of Rochester School of Medicine, NY, USA.


Objectives were to examine geographic variation in rates of infant hospitalization for diagnostic clusters in Monroe County (Rochester), New York and to assess these clusters as indexes of child health. ICD-9 codes were used to cluster all 7,883 hospitalizations of infants (< 24 months) between 1985 and 1991 on the basis of their avoidability. Environmentally sensitive clusters accounted for 63% of admissions. These clusters included environmental, environmental/constitutional, and other infectious disease. Disparities in morbidity between inner city and suburbs were greatest for the environmental cluster, followed by the environmental/constitutional, and other infectious disease clusters. For the constitutional and quality indicator clusters, differences between inner-city and suburban risk were minimal. Environmental interventions may be more important than improved health services to reducing racial and economic disparities in child health. Analysis of morbidity clusters, ascertained from available administrative data bases and aggregated for small geographic areas, may guide child health policy well.

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