There is a growing demand for a computerized version of the preventive care guidelines pediatricians use across US, with the increasing use of electronic medical records and health information exchange.
In a new study, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute report that substantial work lies ahead to convert the American Academy of Pediatrics' Bright Future's guidelines into computerized prompts for physicians, but the payoff has the potential to significantly benefit patients from birth to age 21.
"In addition to covering an age range with wildly varying health needs, the Bright Futures guidelines cover a wide range of topics, from infant car seats to substance use," said S. Maria Finnell, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of pediatrics and a Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist who is the study's first author. "A computerized Bright Futures would help pediatricians provide better care at the point of delivery.
"A major advantage would be the ability to generate clinical decision prompts using a child's age and gender and track what services have already been delivered to the child and which have not."
Bright Futures consists of a multitude of health supervision recommendations for children from birth through 21 years of age -- from recommended shots for newborns to interventions for childhood bullying to risk assessments for sexually transmitted diseases for adolescents.
Currently, Bright Futures is not organized to easily translate into computerized prompts. Recommendations are listed according to what should happen at each visit, which assumes the child will be seen for health supervision at each age and that previous visits have been completed. However, children may miss or have delayed visits to their physician.