Outcomes research in pediatric settings: Recent trends and future directions

Christopher B. Forrest, Scott A. Shipman, Denise Dougherty, Marlene R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objective. Pediatric outcomes research examines the effects of health care delivered in everyday medical settings on the health of children and adolescents. It is an area of inquiry in its nascent stages of development. Methods. We conducted a systematic literature review that covered articles published during the 6-year interval 1994-1999 and in 39 peer-reviewed journals chosen for their likelihood of containing child health services research. This article summarizes the article abstraction, reviews the literature, describes recent trends, and makes recommendations for future work. Results. In the sample of journals that we examined, the number of pediatric outcomes research articles doubled between 1994 and 1999. Hospitals and primary care practices were the most common service sectors, accounting for more than half of the articles. Common clinical categories included neonatal conditions, asthma, psychosocial problems, and injuries. Approximately 1 in 5 studies included multistate or national samples; 1 in 10 used a randomized controlled trial study design. Remarkably few studies examined the health effects of preventive, diagnostic, long-term management, or curative services delivered to children and adolescents. Conclusions. Outcomes research in pediatric settings is a rapidly growing area of inquiry that is acquiring breadth but has achieved little depth in any single content area. Much work needs to be done to inform decision making regarding the optimal ways to finance, organize, and deliver child health care services. To improve the evidence base of pediatric health care, more effectiveness research is needed to evaluate the overall and relative effects of services delivered to children and adolescents in everyday settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Child
  • Effectiveness
  • Healthcare financing
  • Organization of health care
  • Outcomes research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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