What measurement means for cold care for children

Upper respiratory infections, more commonly known as colds, are very common viral infections in the lining of the nose and throat. Symptoms may include a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, low grade fever, headache and facial pressure. Most colds are caused by a virus, and last seven to ten days.

Although a cold can make your child feel miserable, antibiotics are not a part of quality care for this health condition. Most colds get better themselves within 7-10 days, although coughing can last longer. Treatments for acute bronchitis can include getting rest, drinking fluids, and avoiding smoke and fumes.

Because most colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics don't work to treat the symptoms. Taking antibiotics when you don't need them can cause more harm than good. A serious problem with using antibiotics when they aren't needed is something called "drug resistance". Bacteria that are drug-resistant are hard for antibiotics to kill, and can cause very serious infections.

The statewide rate of recommended care for colds by all reporting medical groups is 91%. This means 91 of 100 children between ages 3 months and 18 years received recommended care for a cold that did not include antibiotics.

Higher rates of recommended care for colds can be a sign of strong performance in clinical care. It’s important to know that small differences in percentages don’t necessarily reflect the quality of care you’ll receive with a certain medical group. It is more important to note the large differences between providers, and speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

How we calculate the measure

This measure tells you how successful Minnesota health care providers are in helping children with colds get better without the use of antibiotics.

This measure is evaluated annually. The current data is based on information collected from the health plan billing data for 2014 dates of service. This information is collected under the measure name Appropriate Testing for Children with Upper Respiratory Infection.