Self-care chart use should result in a higher proportion of necessary medical visits and a lower proportion of unnecessary medical visits. While several studies have used the number of visits to determine the effectiveness of self-care charts, no one has examined whether the subjects actually use these charts. This question was addressed by examining families' recording of self-care practices by diary for respiratory illnesses for a 28-day period. A medical chart audit was also performed. It was found that 75% of ilnesses were treated within the family setting and only 25% involved medical visits. Families were more likely to try the charts for “acute minor” illnesses (e.g., colds) than for “acute major” ilness (e.g., ear infections). The findings suggest that the expected separation of necessary and unnecessary visits did not occur. Currently, the family health manager's experience, knowledge, and intuition cannot be replaced by these charts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This paper was presented at the American Public Health Association meeting in Boston, MA, November 1988. This project was partially supported by a grant from the Health Sciences Computer Center, University of Minnesota. The authors acknowledge the cooperation of the Minnesota Group Health, Inc. staff, especially Lynn Scott and'Dr. James D. Nordin.