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Comprehensive followup care reduces life-threatening illnesses and improves outcomes among high-risk infants

Implementing a program of comprehensive neonatal followup care after hospital discharge for inner city, high-risk infants reduces life-threatening illnesses and appears to reduce costs. R. Sue Broyles, M.D., Jon E. Tyson, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas found that, when high-risk infants received comprehensive followup care, 47 percent fewer of them died or developed life-threatening illnesses that required admission for pediatric intensive care. Their research was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS06837).

High-risk infants were defined as those weighing less than 1,000 grams at birth or those weighing 1,001-1,500 grams who required mechanical ventilation. For all care between discharge and 1 year, the estimated average cost per infant was $6,265 for comprehensive care and $9,913 for routine care.

Comprehensive followup care for high-risk infants was defined as 24-hour access to highly experienced caregivers and 5-day-a-week followup care, which included well-baby care, treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, and routine followup care. Routine followup care was available 2 days per week and included well-baby care and chronic illness management.

For more information, see "Comprehensive followup care and life-threatening illnesses among high-risk infants: A randomized controlled trial," by Dr. Broyles, Jon E. Tyson, M.D., M.P.H., Elizabeth T. Heyne, M.S., PA-C., and others, in the October 25, 2000 Journal of the American Medical Association 284, pp. 2070-2076.

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