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.
Copyright Â© 2011 Academic Pediatric Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.