Food allergy(FA) is a life-threatening condition that affects 6million children. FA often requires immediate emergency room(ER) care or hospitalization. Care and supervision of children with FA by their parents/guardians is of utmost importance. Our aim was to quantify discrepancies between parent-reported and routinely collected healthcare utilization data in children with FA and examine associated sociodemographic factors.
METHODS: Parents/guardians of children with FA(age 0-12) were surveyed regarding FA history, comorbidities, and ED visits. Parent-reported data were compared to results of thorough chart review to identify discrepancies. We evaluated frequencies of discrepancies and determined associations with race and parental education by chi-squared analyses.
RESULTS: Data for 67 participants were analyzed; 35.8% of children visited the ED for FA and 29.9% for asthma. Nine percent of parents/guardians underreported FA ED visits. Nineteen percent underreported the number of asthma ED visits; including 12% who were unaware their child had ever visited the ED for asthma. All measured discrepancies were higher in African Americans compared to white parents/guardians; (16.7%vs 0%;p=0.006 for FA ED visits), (6.6%vs 0%;p=0.001 for FA hospitalizations), and (19.4%vs 0%; p=0.002 for asthma ED visits). Although insufficiently powered, ED visit underreporting trended higher in parents without college degrees compared to those with advanced degrees ([18.1% vs 0% for FA] and [22.7% vs 20% for asthma] respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Reliability of self-reported healthcare utilization data in parents of food-allergic children differs greatly based on race, and may also be related to parent education level, suggesting that differences seen may be related to socioeconomic status rather than race.