Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New health maintenance and preventive care resources

The March 15th issue of AFP features a two-part article summarizing important health maintenance issues in school-aged children. Part One focuses on surveillance, screening, and immunizations; and Part Two addresses counseling recommendations. An accompanying editorial by David Ortiz, MD outlines strategies to improve the delivery of preventive services to children, ranging from immunization reminder or recall systems to parent-response developmental tools that can be filled out prior to office visits. Dr. Ortiz concludes by encouraging family physicians to work collaboratively with allied health professionals and office staff to achieve prevention goals:

Although achieving widespread adoption of system-wide changes is a daunting task, family physicians can begin by taking small steps to improve the preventive and well-child care services they provide to their patients. By using chart review or abstraction and identifying key measures to improve (e.g., immunization rates, anticipatory guidance on select topics), family physicians and their staff can assess how well they currently deliver these services, then set improvement goals. Family physicians and their staff can also work together to use well-studied quality improvement techniques, such as the PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycle, to identify and develop practice-specific ways to improve well-child services.

Since preventive care guidelines for children and adults are updated frequently, we are pleased to provide two new AFP By Topic Collections on Health Maintenance and Counseling and Immunizations. In addition to cutting-edge clinical content, be sure to check out valuable Improving Practice articles from Family Practice Management on subjects such as the recent Medicare preventive services expansion, working with behavioral health specialists, and coding sports physicals.