PEDIATRICS recent issues

A Telehealth-Enhanced Referral Process in Pediatric Primary Care: A Cluster Randomized Trial

OBJECTIVES:

To improve the mental health (MH) referral process for children referred from primary care to community mental health clinics (CMHCs) by using a community-partnered approach.

METHODS:

Our partners were a multisite federally qualified health center and 2 CMHCs in Los Angeles County. We randomly assigned 6 federally qualified health center clinics to the intervention or as a control and implemented a newly developed telehealth-enhanced referral process (video orientation to the CMHC and a live videoconference CMHC screening visit) for all MH referrals from the intervention clinics. Our primary outcome was CMHC access defined by completion of the initial access point for referral (CMHC screening visit). We used multivariate logistic and linear regression to examine intervention impact on our primary outcome. To accommodate the cluster design, we used mixed-effect regression models.

RESULTS:

A total of 342 children ages 5 to 12 were enrolled; 86.5% were Latino, 61.7% were boys, and the mean age at enrollment was 8.6 years. Children using the telehealth-enabled referral process had 3 times the odds of completing the initial CMHC screening visit compared with children who were referred by using usual care procedures (80.49% vs 64.04%; adjusted odds ratio 3.02 [95% confidence interval 1.47 to 6.22]). Among children who completed the CMHC screening visit, intervention participants took 6.6 days longer to achieve it but also reported greater satisfaction with the referral system compared with controls. Once this initial access point in referral was completed, >80% of eligible intervention and control participants (174 of 213) went on to an MH visit.

CONCLUSIONS:

A novel telehealth-enhanced referral process developed by using a community-partnered approach improved initial access to CMHCs for children referred from primary care.

Congenital Methemoglobinemia Identified by Pulse Oximetry Screening

Congenital methemoglobinemia is a rare condition caused by cytochrome b5 reductase deficiency, cytochrome b5 deficiency, or hemoglobin M disease. Newborn pulse oximetry screening was developed for the early detection of critical congenital heart disease; however, it also enables the early identification of other hypoxemic conditions. We present the case of a term neonate who was admitted to the neonatal unit after a failed pulse oximetry screening at 3 hours of age. Oxygen saturations remained between 89% and 92% despite an increase in oxygen therapy. Chest radiograph and echocardiogram results were normal. A capillary blood gas test had normal results except for a raised methemoglobin level of 16%. Improvement was seen on the administration of methylene blue, which also resulted in an increase in oxygen saturations to within normal limits. Further investigation revealed evidence of type I hereditary cytochrome b5 reductase deficiency as a result of a CYB5R3 gene mutation with 2 pathogenic variants involving guanine-to-adenine substitutions. Although mild cyanosis is generally the only symptom of type I disease, patients may later develop associated symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath. If an early diagnosis is missed, these patients are likely to present later with a diagnostic conundrum and be subject to extensive investigation. This case represents the success of pulse oximetry screening in the early identification of subclinical hypoxemia in this infant. After the exclusion of other pathologies, a routine investigation of capillary blood gas provided the information that led to a diagnosis, which allowed for early and effective management.

Gaps in the Implementation of Shared Decision-making: Illustrative Cases

Shared decision-making (SDM) has emerged as the preferred decision-making model in the clinician-patient relationship. Through collaboration, SDM helps to facilitate evidence-based medical decisions that are closely aligned with patient or surrogate preferences, values, and goals. How to implement SDM in clinical pediatric practice, however, remains elusive, in part because SDM in pediatrics is complicated by the involvement of parents as a special class of surrogate decision-maker. A provisional framework for the process of SDM in pediatrics was recently proposed by Opel to help facilitate its implementation. To identify aspects of the framework that require refinement, we applied it across a diverse range of clinical cases from multiple pediatric specialties. In doing so, several questions surfaced that deserve further scrutiny: (1) For which medical decisions is consideration of SDM required? (2) What is considered medically reasonable when there is variability in standard practice? (3) Can an option that is not consistent with standard practice still be medically reasonable? (4) How should public health implications be factored into SDM? (5) How should variability in preference sensitivity be approached? (6) How should the developing autonomy of adolescents be integrated into SDM?; and (7) How should SDM address parental decisional burden for emotionally charged decisions? We conduct a brief analysis of each question raised to illustrate key areas for future research.

Prenatal Cotinine Levels and ADHD Among Offspring

OBJECTIVES:

An association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and offspring attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been shown across several studies based on self-reports. No previous studies have investigated the association of nicotine exposure measured by cotinine levels during pregnancy and offspring ADHD.

METHODS:

In this population-based study, 1079 patients born between 1998 and 1999 and diagnosed with ADHD according to the International Classification of Diseases and 1079 matched controls were identified from Finnish nationwide registers. Maternal cotinine levels were measured by using quantitative immunoassays from maternal serum specimens collected during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy and archived in the national biobank.

RESULTS:

There was a significant association between increasing log-transformed maternal cotinine levels and offspring ADHD. The odds ratio was 1.09 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06–1.12) when adjusting for maternal socioeconomic status, maternal age, maternal psychopathology, paternal age, paternal psychopathology, and child’s birth weight for gestational age. In the categorical analyses with cotinine levels in 3 groups, heavy nicotine exposure (cotinine level >50 ng/mL) was associated with offspring ADHD, with an odds ratio of 2.21 (95% CI 1.63–2.99) in the adjusted analyses. Analyses by deciles of cotinine levels revealed that the adjusted odds for offspring ADHD in the highest decile was 3.34 (95% CI 2.02–5.52).

CONCLUSIONS:

The study reveals an association with and a dose-response relationship between nicotine exposure during pregnancy and offspring ADHD. Future studies incorporating maternal smoking and environmental, genetic, and epigenetic factors are warranted.

Understanding Liability Risks and Protections for Pediatric Providers During Disasters

Although most health care providers will go through their careers without experiencing a major disaster in their local communities, if one does occur, it can be life and career altering. The American Academy of Pediatrics has been at the forefront of providing education and advocacy on the critical importance of disaster preparedness. From experiences over the past decade, new evidence and analysis have broadened our understanding that the concept of preparedness is also applicable to addressing the unique professional liability risks that can occur when caring for patients and families during a disaster. In our recommendations in this policy statement, we target pediatric health care providers, advocates, and policy makers and address how individuals, institutions, and government can work together to strengthen the system of liability protections during disasters so that appropriate and timely care can be delivered with minimal fear of legal reprisal or confusion.

Understanding Liability Risks and Protections for Pediatric Providers During Disasters

Although most health care providers will go through their careers without experiencing a major disaster in their local communities, if one does occur, it can be life and career altering. The American Academy of Pediatrics has been in the forefront of providing education and advocacy on the critical importance of disaster preparedness. From experiences over the past decade, new evidence and analysis have broadened our understanding that the concept of preparedness is also applicable to addressing the unique professional liability risks that can occur when caring for patients and families during a disaster. Concepts explored in this technical report will help to inform pediatric health care providers, advocates, and policy makers about the complexities of how providers are currently protected, with a focus on areas of unappreciated liability. The timeliness of this technical report is emphasized by the fact that during the time of its development (ie, late summer and early fall of 2017), the United States went through an extraordinary period of multiple, successive, and overlapping disasters within a concentrated period of time of both natural and man-made causes. In a companion policy statement (www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2018-3892), recommendations are offered on how individuals, institutions, and governments can work together to strengthen the system of liability protections during disasters so that appropriate and timely care can be delivered with minimal fear of legal reprisal or confusion.

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