Benchmarks of quality weight-management care not met for overweight Latino children, study finds

One of the first studies of provider-patient communication regarding weight-management and associated electronic medical records (EMR) finds that many benchmarks of quality weight-management care are not met during primary-care visits with overweight Latino children.

Benchmarks specifically often not met are referrals to nutrition/weight management and performance of recommended laboratory studies. The study findings are released in the latest edition of the academic journal, Global Pediatric Health.

To examine gaps in communication vs. documentation of weight-management clinical practices, the research team recorded communication during primary-care visits with 6-12 year-old overweight/obese Latino children. The communication/documentation content was coded by three reviewers using transcripts and health-record documentation. The researchers found that:

  • Benchmarks were neither communicated nor documented in up to 42% of visits
  • In up to 20% of visits, benchmarks were communicated but not documented, or documented but not communicated
  • The lowest benchmark performance rates were for laboratory studies (35%) and nutrition/weight-management referrals (42%)
  • In multivariable analysis, overweight (vs. obesity) was associated with 1.6 times more discrepancies in communication vs. documentation
  • Many weight management benchmarks are not met, not documented, or performed without being communicated

"Improved communication with families regarding healthy weight and weight-related risks could help promote healthy lifestyle changes in overweight children," says Glenn Flores, senior author of the article and Distinguished Chair of Health Policy Research at the Medica Research Institute. "Enhanced communication and documentation of quality benchmarks for weight management shows promise in achieving higher quality in the care of overweight children in primary care."

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