New data shows that the pediatric hospital and care costs notably vary when it comes to children with asthma.

The team evaluated data from Pediatric Health Information Services for nearly 49,000 children hospitalized for asthma at 37 major non-profit American children’s hospitals from 2011 to 2014. They found that even when asthma patients were grouped by characteristics like age or severity of illness, hospitals differed greatly in patient costs, duration of stay, and time spent in the intensive care unit (ICU).

“As the most prevalent chronic illness in children, asthma imposes a major financial burden on many healthcare systems,” said study leader Dr Jeffrey H. Silber, director of COR at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in a press release. “If hospitals can better understand if their care practices are disproportionately expensive and inefficient compared to other hospitals, they may be better able to pinpoint opportunities for quality improvements.”

The study found that median costs varied 87%, total length of stay varied by 47%, and ICU usage was 254% higher when comparing the lower eight institutions to the upper eight.

In addition, patterns of resource use varied significantly as well, when compared by patient risk. In some hospitals, costs for higher-risk patients were much higher in comparison to matched controls, while in other hospitals, the higher the risk, the lower the cost.

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