A new study shows providing behavior and development support to existing health care dramatically improves the quality of pediatric health care and parenting practices.
Researchers from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health followed nearly 6,000 children from 15 sites which was designed to bridge the gap between families and physicians. It places specialists in the pediatric practice to provide enhanced services such as home visits, telephone help lines, educational materials and support groups to advise parents who have developmental concerns with their children.
Researchers found parents in the program were more confident in discussing developmental and depression issues with health care providers. Other benefits to program participants included children receiving timely vaccinations and a reduction of physical disciplinary tactics.
Specialists say "The tradeoffs in health care expenditures between early childhood and end of life will become even more acute and significant as the baby boom generation ages and consumes increasing proportions of the health care dollar."
Thus medical providers in the public health arena agree that investing in early health care is a policy priority.