Variations in pediatric hospitalization in seven European countries

Oluwarantimi Adetunji, Kevin Ottino, Austin Tucker, Ghada Al-Attar, Mohammad Abduljabbar, David Bishai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare rates of pediatric hospital utilization across seven European countries. Methods: Secondary data from WHO's European Hospital Morbidity Database from 2009 to 2012. Cross- country comparison of rates of admissions and bed days per 100 person-years by clinical service. We tabulated counts of admissions and bed days by principal diagnosis and age group for Ireland, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and France. ICD 9 or ICD 10 or ISHMT diagnosis codes were allocated to clinical services. Normal newborn admissions were excluded from the analysis. Simple linear regression models, weighted by pediatric population size, were constructed to estimate the relationships between health care utilization and factors that may influence variation in care. Results: Hospital admission across the seven countries ranged from 9.41 (Spain) to 19.59 (Germany) admissions per 100 person-years. Bed days ranged from a low of 52.50 (Spain) to 135.44 (Germany) per 100 person-years. General pediatrics and neonatology led in clinical volume across all countries. Infectious disease admissions were the third most common. Bed supply and nurse supply were positively associated with health care utilization. Out-of-pocket payment was inversely associated with health care utilization Conclusions: A wide range of utilization of pediatric inpatient care was observed across seven European countries that have universal coverage. Variation in the provision of effective, supply-sensitive, and preference-sensitive care may explain some of the variations. Our study shows that it is probable that preventable hospital admissions are occurring in the pediatric population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1173
Number of pages9
JournalHealth policy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Hospitals
  • Medical geography
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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