Integrated children's clinic care (ICCC) versus a self-directed care pathway for children with a chronic health condition: a multi-centre randomised controlled trial study protocol

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Thuy, Thanh Frakking
Waugh, John
Teoh, Hsien-Jin
Shelton, Doug
Moloney, Susan
Ward, Donna
David, Michael
Barber, Matthew
Carter, Hannah
Mickan, Sharon
Weir, Kelly
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Background: Children with chronic health conditions have better health-related outcomes when their care is managed in a personalised and coordinated way. However, increased demand on Australian ambulatory care hospital services has led to longer waitlist times to access specialists and appropriate intervention services; placing vulnerable children at increased risk of poorer short-term (e.g. social difficulties) and long-term (e.g. convictions) health and social outcomes. Traditional approaches to increasing frequency and service of delivery are expensive and can have minimal impact on caregiver burden. A community based service-integration approach, rather than self-directed care is proposed as increased service linkages are more likely to occur and improve the health outcomes of children with a chronic health condition.

Methods: An open, unblinded, multi-centre randomised controlled trial in two Australian public hospitals. 112 children (0–16 years) fulfilling the inclusion criteria will be randomised to one of two clinical pathways for management of their chronic health condition: (1) integrated children’s care clinic (ICCC) or (2) self-directed care pathway. All children and caregivers will be interviewed at 1 week, and 3, 6 and 12 month time intervals. Primary outcome measures include the Pediatric Quality of Life (PedQOL) questionnaire, Subjective Units of Distress Scale, Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and Rotter’s Locus of Control Scale. Secondary outcome measures include the total number of medical appointments, school days missed and quantity of services accessed. Our main objectives are to determine if the ICCC results in better health and economics outcomes compared to the self-directed care pathway.

Discussion: The success of a health systems approach needs to be balanced against clinical, mortality and cost-effectiveness data for long-term sustainability within a publicly funded health system. A clinical pathway that is sustainable, cost-effective, provides efficient evidence-based care and improves the quality of life outcomes for children with chronic health conditions has the potential to reduce waitlist times, improve access to health services, increase consumer satisfaction; and prevent costs associated with poorly managed chronic health conditions into adulthood. This study will be the first to provide clinical and health economics data on an integrated care pathway for the management of chronic health conditions in children. On a broader scale, results from this study will help guide care coordination frameworks for children with chronic health conditions; particularly with the introduction and implementation of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) across Australia.

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BMC Pediatrics

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© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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