Impact of delay in asthma diagnosis on health care service use

Brian A. Lynch, Chelsey A. Van Norman, Robert M. Jacobson, Amy L. Weaver, Young J. Juhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Delays in diagnosing asthma in children are common and are known to delay asthma-specific treatment. Few studies have investigated whether a delay in asthma diagnosis impacts the use of health care services. This study was designed to assess whether a delay in diagnosis of asthma influences the use of health care services. This was a retrospective cohort study with subjects elicited from a convenience sample of 839 healthy children. The criteria for asthma was met in 276 (33%) subjects; of these subjects 179 (65%) had a delay in the diagnosis of asthma and 97 (35%) had a timely diagnosis. Data on health care services (e.g., flu shot, availability of a peak flow meter, hospitalizations, and urgent care or emergency department visits) and the frequency of systemic steroid treatments were collected from medical records during the first 18 years of life. The frequencies of health service and use of systemic steroids were compared using Poisson and logistic regression models in asthmatic children with and without a delay in asthma diagnosis. Children with a delay in asthma diagnosis were more likely to visit urgent care centers at least once (40.8% versus 21.6%; p < 0.001), compared with those with a timely diagnosis. There were no significant differences in other health care service or systemic steroid use. A delay in the diagnosis of asthma was associated with an increase in urgent care visits suggesting suboptimal care. Clinicians should be aware that a delay in the diagnosis of asthma in children may result in the use of suboptimal health care services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e48-e52
JournalAllergy and Asthma Proceedings
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Accessibility
  • Adolescent
  • Asthma
  • Child
  • Control
  • Delivery of health care
  • Diagnosis
  • Health services
  • Treatment
  • Urgent care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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