By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief
Children with special health care needs (CSHN) are often referred to as just that—a homogeneous grouping that requires additional medical attention and resources more so than any other pediatric population. Yet close-up these children are not homogeneous but vary in their trajectories in terms of their outcomes over time. Quach et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2431) opted to study CSHN and defined four different trajectories that produced very different outcomes.
The four trajectories involved some children whose special health care needs were persistent over time, some whose problem kept emerging over time, some whose issues were transient and some nonexistent over time. If one can identify the trajectory a child might be on, it might help us prioritize which children need which resources, when and for how long.
That is just what the authors do in this study and to further emphasize its import, editorial board member Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0319) offers a commentary that helps us learn how to provide better individual care through the use of population data. In this case, a picture of these trajectories is worth much more than the words in this blog, so read the study and learn more.