Using Health-Related Quality of Life to Predict and Manage Pediatric Health Care

Published in: Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, v. 5, no. 4, Aug. 2005, p. 489-498

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Michael Seid, Hao Yu, Debra Lotstein, James W. Varni

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Increasing healthcare costs and the prevalence of managed care make population health management an imperative. Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a multidimensional construct that includes both physical and psychosocial (i.e., social, emotional and role) dimensions. Early studies suggest that HRQOL can predict costs of care for pediatric populations. A key issue is how to manage the care of those identified as high need. Here again, HRQOL measurement can be useful. HRQOL measurement in the clinical setting can streamline and structure the clinical interview, potentially leading to enhanced assessment. It can also make it easier for busy pediatricians to explore and address issues of psychosocial functioning. A particularly promising area for HRQOL is in identifying, proactively, suitable candidates for case management in large enrolled populations. Further research should extend the initial studies on HRQOL predicting utilization and cost, more thoroughly specify the proportion of identified costs that are manageable and care management's effect on care for different groups of children, document the causal links between physiologic variables and HRQOL on one hand and patient functioning on the other, and understand the conditions necessary for HRQOL assessment to affect clinical practice.

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