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Am J Manag Care. 2003 Aug;9(8):538-47.

Risk factors for asthma hospitalizations in a managed care organization: development of a clinical prediction rule.

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Department of Allergy, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, San Diego, CA, USA.



To use a computerized administrative database to develop and validate a clinical prediction rule for the occurrence of asthma hospitalizations.


Retrospective cohort.


Subjects included asthmatic patients ages 3 to 64 who were continuously enrolled in the Southern California Kaiser Permanente managed care organization in both 1998 and 1999. Data were based on linkage of a hospital discharge database, diagnosis and procedures database, membership database, and prescription database. The outcome was any 1999 hospitalization with a primary diagnosis of asthma. The outcome was evaluated and modeled separately for children (ages 3-17) and adults (ages 18-64).


Univariate analyses showed that hospitalized children were younger than nonhospitalized children. Adults and children hospitalized in 1999 had lower mean household incomes, were more likely to have required an emergency department visit or hospitalization in 1998, used more beta-agonists and oral corticosteroids in 1998, and had more 1998 prescribers than nonhospitalized patients. In multivariable analysis, independent predictors of 1999 hospitalization in children included age and 1998 hospitalizations, beta-agonist dispensings, total anti-inflammatory dispensings, and number of prescribers. Among adults, 1998 hospitalizations and oral steroid dispensings as well as income were independent predictors of hospitalization in 1999. The prediction rules developed in this study identified the 11% to 13% of adults or children with an approximately 6-fold higher likelihood for being hospitalized in the following year.


These models can be used to identify high-risk asthmatic patients in whom targeted intervention might reduce asthma morbidity and cost of care.

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