Project Summary

This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.

What is the research about?

Before a child goes home after a hospital stay, doctors often advise parents to schedule a follow-up visit with their child’s primary care doctor. Follow-up visits can help families and patients get the care they need and avoid going back to the hospital. But going to follow-up visits can also be a burden for families.

In this study, the research team is comparing automatic to as-needed follow-up care for children after a hospital stay. In automatic follow-up, doctors advise parents to schedule a follow-up visit within one week after leaving the hospital, even if their child’s symptoms improve or resolve. In as-needed follow-up, doctors tell parents to schedule a follow-up visit only if their child’s health doesn’t improve or gets worse.

The team wants to know how well each way helps children avoid going back to the hospital and improves outcomes for families.

Who can this research help?

Results may help healthcare teams when considering ways to suggest that parents set up follow-up visits after their child’s hospital stay.

What is the research team doing?

The research team is recruiting children from hospitals across the United States. Children are receiving care for common infections such as pneumonia. The team is assigning children by chance to receive automatic or as-needed follow-up. The team is surveying parents one month after leaving the hospital to learn if the child:

  • Went back to the hospital within 14 days
  • Received medical care from a clinician other than their primary care doctor
  • Received a lab test or started taking a new medicine
  • Missed school

The research team is also surveying parents to learn about their quality of life, their relationship with their child’s primary care doctor, and if the child is up to date with vaccines. Also, the team is surveying and talking with parents and clinicians to learn about their experiences with as-needed follow-up care. Finally, the team wants to know if factors such as the patient’s race and income affect how well the two kinds of follow-up work for families.

The team is using findings from the study to develop guidance on how best to use the as-needed follow-up approach.

Parents, doctors, hospital administrators, and health insurers are helping to plan and conduct this study.

Research methods at a glance

Design Element Description
Design Randomized controlled trial
Population 2,674 children 18 years of age and younger who were hospitalized due to a primary diagnosis of pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infection, acute gastroenteritis, or urinary tract infection and a parent who speaks English or Spanish
  • Automatic follow-up
  • As-needed follow-up

Primary: hospital readmission

Secondary: medical intervention (laboratory test, imaging test, or a new medicine), parent-reported child health-related quality of life, number of missed school hours for children, number of missed work hours for parents, parent relationship with primary care provider, child immunizations, total cost to parents related to child’s illness, symptom duration, ambulatory care visits (clinic, urgent care, emergency department), parent self-efficacy, parent anxiety, satisfaction with care, telephone and electronic communications with medical providers, well-child visits, proportion of participants who report having a usual place of medical care, medical errors

Timeframe Timeframe Length of follow-up for collecting data on primary outcomes. View Glossary 2-week follow-up for primary outcome

*Increase Diversity and Advance Health Equity Funding Supplement
This study received supplemental funding to build on existing PCORI-funded comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies to leverage meaningful engagement of affected/relevant communities to ensure that a diverse and inclusive study population can be achieved.

Project Information

Eric Coon, MD, MS
University of Utah
The Follow-Up Automatically vs. As-Needed Comparison (FAAN-C) Trial

Key Dates

December 2021
April 2028

Study Registration Information


Award Type
Health Conditions Health Conditions These are the broad terms we use to categorize our funded research studies; specific diseases or conditions are included within the appropriate larger category. Note: not all of our funded projects focus on a single disease or condition; some touch on multiple diseases or conditions, research methods, or broader health system interventions. Such projects won’t be listed by a primary disease/condition and so won’t appear if you use this filter tool to find them. View Glossary
Populations Populations PCORI is interested in research that seeks to better understand how different clinical and health system options work for different people. These populations are frequently studied in our portfolio or identified as being of interest by our stakeholders. View Glossary
Intervention Strategy Intervention Strategies PCORI funds comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER) studies that compare two or more options or approaches to health care, or that compare different ways of delivering or receiving care. View Glossary
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: April 23, 2024