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Intervention to Increase Parent-provider Communication During Referrals

Information source: University of Colorado, Denver
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Parent-Provider Communication

Intervention: Care plan and coaching (Behavioral)

Phase: N/A

Status: Active, not recruiting

Sponsored by: University of Colorado, Denver

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Christopher Stille, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University of Colorado, Denver
Paul Darden, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University of Oklahoma


The overall goal of this three-year study is to adapt and test a brief, feasible intervention using a communication tool and brief parent coaching to increase the capability of parents of children and youth with special health care needs to exchange and use medical information in partnership with their child's physicians when their children require sub-specialty referral. We hypothesize that the use of tools to coordinate referrals between physicians and parents will facilitate increased communication between primary care physicians(PCPs) and specialists, and that parents trained in information exchange and care planning will experience increased self-efficacy in interacting with their child's physicians. There are two primary aims of the study. The first aim is to adapt a joint parent-provider referral communication and care planning intervention (i. e., the 'referral care plan') for use with ethnically diverse populations in an electronic communication environment, and optimize its usability in the practice setting. The second aim is to test the referral care plan in nine pediatric primary care and subspecialty practices in two states, using a stepped wedge cluster randomized trial, to evaluate its effect on communication, parent self-efficacy, and patient outcomes.

Clinical Details

Official title: Parent-Provider Partnerships for Referral Communication

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Health Services Research

Primary outcome: Patient Outcomes

Secondary outcome: Parent Self-Efficacy

Detailed description: One highly-promoted, evidence-based model for chronic illness service delivery for children is the Care Model for Child Health in the Medical Home. The Medical Home (MH) model has been promoted as way to improve quality while making care more efficient. Communication among members of the health care team is an essential part of the model, with sharing of care between providers preferred by families, PCPs and specialists. However, communication between referring and consulting physicians is frequently missing. Failure of communication can produce uncoordinated care, which may contribute to unmet family needs, duplication or omission of needed medical services, and medical errors. Data on effectiveness of specific MH interventions, especially in children, are scarce. A large intervention in the MH setting was tested using written care plans and use of forms as tools to promote communication with specialists. Results indicated decreases of 40 to 70% in parent reports of lost work/school time, ER visits, and hospital admissions. Additional studies produced decreased hospitalizations and emergency room use in children. Family-centered care (FCC), a Medical Home core component, has been conceptualized for measurement purposes as having four components: communication with health care providers, shared decision making, providing families with needed information, and self-care management and support. Interventions to improve FCC through parent-to-parent support groups and community-based support have produced increased parent confidence and problem-solving ability. Studies of asthma have shown that teaching primary care providers to take a family-centered approach to medication prescribing as part of an overall education protocol improves symptoms and decreases follow-up visits, and using a family coordinator to help physicians and parents interact more effectively is integral to improving asthma outcomes. Shared decision-making (SDM), an element of FCC and an approach favored by family advocacy groups to help parents achieve the greatest benefits for their children with special needs, is addressed by our proposed intervention. Merely providing information to patients and families is not sufficient; families must be able to express preferences, participate in dialogue, and make informed decisions as partners with physicians. The proposed project addresses the health care quality gaps outlined above by improving primary care-specialty-parent communication, family-centered care, and shared decision-making within the MH model. It also addresses knowledge gaps by examining the effectiveness of an important recommended component of the MH and investigating the relationship between the intervention and both process and outcome measures, in a "real-world" practice setting. If the aims of the project are achieved, we will have discovered a practical way to improve care that can be promoted to payers and policymakers.


Minimum age: N/A. Maximum age: 17 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Parents of children aged 0-17, AND

- Parents of children with a chronic health condition, AND

- Parents whose children are receiving a NEW referral to a pediatric neurologist,

gastroenterologist, cardiologist, or pulmonologist Exclusion Criteria:

- Parents of children 18 and older

- Parents of children without a chronic health condition

- Parents of children who are not receiving a referral, or who are receiving a referral

to a different sub-specialty

Locations and Contacts

University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado 80045, United States

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, United States

Additional Information

Starting date: March 2013
Last updated: June 4, 2015

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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