Delivery of well-child care: a look inside the door

Acad Pediatr. Jan-Feb 2011;11(1):18-26. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2010.12.008.

Abstract

Objective: To describe the delivery of well-child care and its components; to compare that delivery with recommendations in Bright Futures; and to compare delivery of well-child care for children with special health care needs with that for children without special needs.

Methods: Over a 10-week period, 2 medical students observed and documented characteristics of well-child care visits by general pediatricians and midlevel pediatric providers. Parents completed a demographic questionnaire and a screener for children with special health care needs.

Results: A total of 483 visits by 43 pediatricians and 9 midlevel providers with patients from 0 to 19 years of age were observed. Adjusted mean visit duration was 20.3 minutes; 38.9% of visits began with an open-ended question about parent/child concerns. A mean of 7.2 health supervision/anticipatory guidance topics were addressed per visit. Clinicians addressed a mean of 42% of Bright Futures-recommended age-specific health supervision/anticipatory guidance topics. Topics addressed less frequently than recommended included family support, parental well-being, behavior/discipline, physical activity, media screen time, risk reduction/substance use, puberty/sex, social-peer interactions, and violence. Shorter visits were associated with asking about parent/child concerns and with addressing greater proportions of recommended health supervision/anticipatory guidance topics. Well-child care visits with children with special health care needs were 36% longer than those with children without special needs and addressed similar numbers of age-specific health supervision/anticipatory guidance topics. More time was spent with children with special health care needs addressing health supervision/anticipatory guidance topics, other conditions (usually their chronic condition), and testing, prescriptions, and referrals.

Conclusions: Utilizing direct observation of visits with pediatric clinicians, we found that solicitation of parent/child concerns occurred less frequently than recommended. Fewer than half of recommended visit-specific health supervision/anticipatory guidance topics were addressed, and there was little congruence with some Bright Futures age group-specific recommendations. Notably, both solicitation of patient/parent concerns and greater adherence to health supervision/anticipatory guidance recommendations were associated with shorter visits. Well-child care visits with children with special health care needs were longer than those with children without special needs; more time was spent addressing similar numbers of health supervision/anticipatory guidance topics as well as their chronic conditions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disabled Children / statistics & numerical data
  • Early Intervention, Educational / methods
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Pediatrics / methods
  • Pediatrics / standards
  • Pediatrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Examination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / standards
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Utah
  • Young Adult