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J Clin Epidemiol. 1990;43(12):1319-25.

Parents' vs physicians' utilities (values) for clinical outcomes in potentially bacteremic children.

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Department of Pediatrics, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Our previous analyses of decision strategies in children 3-24 months with acute-onset fever greater than or equal to 39 degrees C and no evident bacterial focus of infection indicated that the risks of routine blood cultures (the unnecessary hospitalization and treatment of children who clear their bacteremia spontaneously) outweigh its benefits (the prevention of a few cases with major infectious sequelae). Because those analyses were based on parents' values for beneficial and adverse clinical outcomes, we wished to examine whether those values differed in physicians and, if so, whether the differences were sufficient to change the results of the decision analysis. Using a pre-tested linear analog utility (value) scale, we evaluated eight potential clinical outcomes in potentially bacteremic children by surveying 121 parents of healthy 3-24-month-old children attending a private pediatric group practice and 57 attending physicians of a tertiary-care children's hospital emergency room. Utilities were based on a 0-1 normalization, where 0 is the utility of the worst outcome (meningitis or other major bacterial infection, plus venipuncture), and 1 the utility of the best outcome (complete recovery without venipuncture or hospitalization), and were analyzed using a recently developed statistical model of utility. The majority of parents and physicians combined the imputed components of the outcomes (disease, pain of venipuncture, and stress of hospitalization) in a nonlinear fashion. Parents assigned substantially lower utility (i.e. greater disutility) to venipuncture, minor infection, and hospitalization than did physicians, and these utilities were even lower in parents with other children at home.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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