Helping Pediatric Practices Help Parents

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<p>Although parents often request information and support about healthy development and child-rearing techniques, studies indicate parents do not always receive this guidance. Tools to elicit parents' concerns, like identification of psychosocial risk factors, anticipatory guidance, and problem-focused counseling, are integral to good family care but challenging for busy practices to implement.<br><br>An innovative quality improvement collaborative in Vermont and North Carolina shows, however, that if provided assistance, physician practices can successfully implement systems to provide parents of young children with detailed guidance. As Peter A. Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues report in <a href="/publications/in-the-literature/2008/dec/assisting-primary-care-practices-in-using-office-systems-to-promote-early-childhood-development
">Assisting Primary Care Practices in Using Office Systems to Promote Early Childhood Development</a> (<em>Ambulatory Pediatrics,</em> November/December), the 18 primary care practices participating in the 12-month intervention increased their number of care delivery systems by 50 percent, their developmental screening rate from 78 percent to 88 percent, and their psychosocial screening from 22 to 29 percent. Moreover, parents reported increased satisfaction with their child's care.<br><br>The intervention was designed to help practices increase the use of standardized tools for screening and anticipatory guidance, implement systems to promote preventive and developmental care, and streamline referrals to community agencies.<br><br>More work needs to be done, the researchers say, to explore ways to extend such support to larger numbers of pediatric practices.</p>