Facilitators and Barriers to Access to Pediatric Medical Services in a Community Hospital
Journal of Primary Care and Community Health
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© The Author(s) 2020. Background: Missed medical appointments decrease continuity of medical care, waste resources, and may affect health outcomes. We examined the factors associated with missed children’s supervision visits in Eastern Brooklyn, NY, USA. Methods: We surveyed guardians whose children received routine medical care at four pediatric clinics. Participants filled out a questionnaire that queried: demographics, food security, recent relocation, parental support of healthy behaviors, and length of knowing provider. Preexisting disease(s) and missed visits were retrieved from medical records. Regression analyses were used to determine factors that were associated with missing medical appointments. Results: Among 213 families, 33% faced food insecurity and 16.4% reported moving within the past 12 months. Forty percent of children missed at least 1 visit. Food insecurity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI 1.0% to 5.2%) and recent relocation (aOR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-3.4 were associated with missed health supervision visits, whereas greater parental healthy behaviors (aOR 0.5, 95% CI 0.3-0.9) and longer length of knowing provider (aOR 0.8, 95% CI 0.7-1.0) were associated with fewer missed appointments. Conclusion: This study indicates that social inequity may contribute to poor adherence to medical appointments through multiple mechanisms, including food insecurity, lack of social stability, and parental health behaviors. Multidimensional proactive prevention, and reactive tolerance should be considered as opportunities to mitigate the impact of social inequity on health outcomes.