Anticipatory Ear Pain Counseling at a 12-15 Month Preventive Care Visit for Low Income Children

Author(s): Stephen Berman, Amy Shriver, Lauren Mehner, Bryan Wallace, Anna Furniss, Meghan Treitz

Background: Determine the usefulness of ear pain anticipatory counseling for young children with public health plans to reduce visits for acute otitis media (AOM) and shift visits from urgent care/emergency department (UC/ED) settings to primary care clinic (PCC) settings.

Methods: We documented the AOM visit distribution and incidence rates by setting according to race/ethnicity from the EPIC electronic medical record system for 12 months following the enrollment of eligible 12-15 month old children in a single blind randomized control trial of ear pain counseling.

Results: Among the 310 children enrolled in the study, 30.6% of participants had at least 1 AOM visit and 4.5% had 3 or more AOM visits. The overall incidence was 490 AOM visit episodes per 1000 child years with rates of 232 in PCC and 226 in UC/ED settings. The difference in the proportion of Hispanic children with at least 1 AOM visit (33.5% 52/155) compared to Non-Hispanic children (24% 25/106) approached significance (p=0.08). The counseling intervention did not reduce the proportion of children with at least 1 AOM visit (counseling: 29.0%: 45/155; control: 32.3% 50/155 p=0.54); the proportion of children with 3 or more AOM visits (counseling: 5.8%: 9/155; control: 3.2% 5/155 p=0.41); or the AOM visit incidence rates (counseling: 471; control: 510) and did not shift AOM visits from the UC/ED to PCC setting.

Conclusions: Anticipatory ear pain counseling in a hospital based PCC serving children enrolled in public plans does not reduce PCC or UC/ED AOM visit incidence rates.

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