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Childhood respiratory illness presentation and service utilisation in primary care: a six-year cohort study in Wellington, New Zealand, using natural language processing (NLP) software
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  • Published on:
    The burden of respiratory infections in primary care – the missing piece of the puzzle?
    • Sandra Lucas, PhD candidate School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
    • Other Contributors:
      • Saravana Kumar, Senior Lecture
      • Matthew Leach, Senior Research Fellow

    We would like to thank the authors for their informative and innovative research, which interrogated electronic medical record free text, to demonstrate the significant impact of childhood respiratory illness on primary care workload in New Zealand. The findings indicate that almost half (46%) of all child-general practitioner consultations between January 2008 and December 2013 were attributed to the management of respiratory conditions.

    The findings of this research are not surprising given that children in developed and developing countries report six to eight episodes of acute respiratory tract infection every year (1). The high rate of consultations may be partly explained by the fact that there is no cure for acute respiratory infections, only symptomatic relief (1). For some parents, this might necessitate frequent and repeat consultations with general practitioners.

    While this research sheds light on the role of general practitioners in the management of childhood respiratory illness, there continues to persist ongoing knowledge gaps in an equally important field. There is some evidence to indicate that many parents manage their child’s acute respiratory infections at home, using a range of therapies, including complementary and alternative medicines (CAM)(2). With the increasing popularity of CAM and emerging high level evidence to support the role of CAM therapies for acute respiratory tract infection (e.g. Sambucus nigra (3), Pelargonium sidoides...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.