Children and adolescents are the elderly of our future. If we do not invest in more sustainable health care for children and adolescents, it will hinder healthy growing up and ageing.

Almost every health-related question starts in general practice. General practice is the cornerstone of health care for children and adolescents. High quality and equitable general practice-based care will contribute to a strong foundation of individual and collective childhood and therefore will contribute to the health of our future employees, future parents, and future elderly population.

We want to strengthen general practice-based care for children and adolescents, and make it effective, efficient, impactful and meet the needs of all children and adolescents and their caregivers. Our main fields of interest are:

  • Diagnostic strategies for children with non-specific symptoms like chronic abdominal pain or tiredness.
  • Development of methods to evaluate diagnostic processes more efficiently, to speed up implementation in primary care and reduce costs.
  • Study of health system barriers to improve access to health care services (e.g., in vaccine uptake), and to prevent inefficient healthcare use (e.g. hospitalization of infants with AGE, not at risk for dehydration), especially for vulnerable groups.

How our research benefits to society

Our research generates impact that benefits the health and wellbeing of paediatric populations and the efficiency and sustainability of general practice-based care for the youngest generation. We achieve this impact through:

  • Conducting practice-oriented studies in which the research question is coming from the professional practice of GPs, other primary care services (e.g., practice nurses, out-of-hours GP service), social or health care professionals or medical specialists (e.g., paediatricians) who collaborate with the GP. The involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including patient and profession organisations, from project idea to implementation leads to great support for implementing the knowledge generated in our research directly into the professional practice.
  • Conducting interdisciplinary research in which different disciplines (e.g., medicine, sociology, economics) collaborate in research in an integrated way. We perform small- and large-scale interdisciplinary, national and international research projects in collaboration with colleagues in the UMCG and in the Northern region, but also with national and international partners. We meet with these partners regularly online or live to work together on research ideas, grant applications, papers, and conference presentations.
  • Conducting participatory action research in which we as researcher closely work with communities (e.g., GPs, other health care professionals and patients) to facilitate change. Young sick or healthy patients and their parents and involved health care professionals are given the possibility to take part in our studies from the very beginning.
  • Conducting studies on the generation of evidence for added value of diagnostic tests in children and adolescents in general practice to improve the diagnostic process. In addition, we develop methods to evaluate these tests more efficiently. The implementation of diagnostic tests in general practice is often based on evidence about the usefulness of the test derived from hospital and adult data. Using diagnostic test in a population that is different from the validation population can result in missed-diagnosis, over-diagnosis, and unnecessary costs for patients and wider society.


Organisation of care:
Danielle Jansen

Diagnostic challenges:
Gea Holtman

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Department of Primary and Long-term Care
Internal postcode FA21
P.O. Box 196
9700 AD Groningen

Visiting address
Department of Primary and Long-term Care
Oostersingel | entrance 47 | building 50 | 2nd floor
The Netherlands