In many countries, the burden of asthma is sufficient to warrant recognition as a high-priority disorder in governmental health strategies. However, the components of the total health-care costs for pediatric patients with asthma have not been well studied, and an overall understanding of health-care utilization patterns in this population is lacking in Taiwan.Methods
A total of 33 461 patients aged 3–17 years who were enrolled in the National Health Insurance Research database from 1 January to 31 December 2002 were evaluated. Health-care utilization and costs, including those related to office, outpatient hospital, emergency department, and inpatient hospital visits were compared between pediatric patients with and without asthma.Results
In 2002, the period prevalence of treated asthma was 6.0%. Pediatric patients with asthma used substantially more services than did those without asthma in all categories. Hospital outpatient visits and overall health-care expenditure for patients with asthma were 2.2-fold higher than those of patients without asthma. Asthma care represented 20% of all health-care services that patients with asthma received, while the remaining 80% were for non-asthma care. Almost three-fourths of all asthma-related costs were attributable to office and hospital outpatient visits; one-fourth was attributable to urgent care and hospitalizations.Conclusions
These findings may serve as baseline data for future evaluation of changes in health-care utilization and expenditure among pediatric patients with asthma.