Utilization of primary care versus specialized care in children with and without chronic illness. A population-based study
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Children's utilization of curative care was studied to analyse the division of responsibilities between undifferentiated primary care and specialized care. All chronically ill (n = 510), a control group (n = 287) and the total population 0-15 years of age (n = 6080) in a primary care district were studied using register data. Chronically ill children comprised 8.4% of the total child population and were registered for 1/10 of the primary health care visits, 1/3 of the specialized visits, 1/3 of the hospitalizations and 1/2 of the in-patient days of all children. The yearly ambulatory visits were 3.7/child in the chronically ill and 1.5/child in the control group, of which 1/3 and 2/3, respectively, were to primary care. Utilization of specialized care increased with disability. Chronically ill children visited primary care mainly for acute respiratory infections but seldom for allergic or other chronic conditions.