In 2005 the McFarland Clinic Pediatric Department in Ames was selected to participate in a ten-month program to help develop the guidelines and forms in practice for the Bright Futures program. The mission of Bright Futures is to improve the health of the nation’s children, families and communities.
From this initial project, Sheila Baker, McFarland Clinic Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, was selected to develop a web-based program for convenient and accessible continued medical education for health care professionals.
“I worked with other pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) from 2008 to 2010 to develop Bright Future EQipp (Education in Quality Improvement for Pediatric Practice),” says Sheila. “It is designed to help professionals use practice tools and carry out effective strategies to improve the care of children and families.”
The EQipp consists of eleven areas of evaluation and practice improvement. Sheila helped co-author four of these areas:
1. Perform age appropriate structured developmental/behavioral/social surveillance and continue screening at each health supervision visit
2. Develop community relationships and resource list
3. Provide parent/patient with age-appropriate anticipatory guidance at each health supervision visit
4. Implement a recall/reminder system
The McFarland Clinic Pediatrics Department has incorporated the Bright Futures questionnaires, developmental screenings and anticipatory guidance into the clinic’s electronic medical record, EPIC, so it is used at every appointment.
“Integrating these materials into our electronic medical record has been very beneficial to parents and providers. It is a great way to get parents talking about any concerns and to educate them on age-appropriate development,” says Sheila. “For medical professionals, it shows documentation for standard of care in a format that follows the flow of an appointment.”
Educational packets using Bright Future handouts have been developed for each age group through ten years and are given to parents at appointments. Currently, Sheila is working on adolescent screening and handouts.