Waiting times for diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents referred to Italian ADHD centers must be reduced

Maurizio Bonati, Massimo Cartabia, Michele Zanetti, Massimo Molteni, Sara Trabattoni, Lombardy ADHD Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: To investigate timely access to and the time needed to complete the diagnostic path of children and adolescents with suspected attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the 18 Italian Lombardy Region ADHD reference centers. Methods: Data of children and adolescents enrolled in the Regional ADHD disease-oriented Registry for suspected ADHD who requested their first visit in 2013-2017 were analyzed. Results: The sample comprised 2262 children and adolescents aged 5-17 years who accessed the ADHD centers for diagnostic classification and management. The median waiting time was of 177 days (range 66-375) from the request for the initial appointment to the completion of the diagnostic path, with a three-fold difference between centers. In addition to the center, the strongest significant predictors of long waiting times were age comorbidities, the severity of the disorder, and having already completed some diagnostic procedures provided by the common standard path. Conclusions: To guarantee an equal standard of care in ADHD centers for all children and adolescents there is a pressing need to reduce the times to complete the diagnostic path. It is the task of both policymakers and each center to optimize the quality of the service and of the care delivered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number673
Pages (from-to)10
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 18 2019

Keywords

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Children
  • Epidemiology
  • Health service
  • Italy
  • Waiting time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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