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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-44

Utilization of health-care resources of preterm infants during their first 2 years of life after discharge from neonatal intensive care unit


1 Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology Division, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, King Abdulaziz Medical City; Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences; King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences; King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohammed Yasir Al-Hindi
Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology Division, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Western Region, Jeddah 21482
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jcn.jcn_204_20

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Background: Preterm birth is the most significant factor for infant morbidity and mortality. Preterm infants are highly vulnerable to substantial comorbidities and need to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Prematurity and low birth weight (LBW) of infants, in particular, have been found to have a higher substantial burden on family resources and health-care resources after discharge from the hospital. Objective: To obtain data as a basis for strategic planning and efficient delivery of health-care resources, this study aims to determine the extent of health-care facility utilization among preterm infants during their first 2 years of life after discharge from the NICU. Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study design by reviewing the electronic medical records of preterm infants (i.e., <37 weeks' gestation) who were discharged from the NICU. Their outcomes were compared to healthy term infants. All examined infants were delivered at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from June 1, 2016, to April 30, 2018. Results: In this single-center study, the NICU admission rate was 8.6%, and 4.18% of those were premature. In terms of facility utilization, preterm infants had a significantly higher frequency of outpatient visits, laboratory, and radiology performed as compared to healthy term infants. Preterm infants were also significantly and more likely to be admitted to the inpatient department. In subgroup analysis, very preterm, extremely preterm, low birth weight (LBW), very LBW (VLBW), and extremely LBW (ELBW) infants had higher outpatient visits and higher laboratory and radiology performed. Conclusions: Preterm infants utilized more health-care resources than healthy term infants. Very preterm, extremely preterm, VLBW, and ELBW infants had more outpatient visits and utilized the laboratory and radiology services more often than other subgroups. This study suggests developing an innovative strategic plan to effectively meet preterm infants' health-care needs, particularly by improving services in mostly utilized hospital resources.


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