Monday, October 26, 2009
A new study commissioned by Partnership for Prevention finds that too little attention is paid to improving the delivery of clinical preventive services to adolescents by addressing problems unique to that population. The review article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also finds that most of the clinical preventable services that are recommended for adolescents don’t have good evidence to support their effectiveness.
Among the unique problems:
• The time typically allocated for routine adolescent exams is quite short and is unlikely to be extended, given Medicaid’s recent reductions in preventive visit reimbursements relative to other services.
• Many clinicians feel that adolescents are less likely to heed their recommendations because they believe adolescents are less interested in their long-term health than adults and more likely to engage in risk behaviors.
• Delivery of clinical services to adolescents tends to be driven by tradition, expert opinion, and the very limited needs of particular required preventive visits (e.g., school or sports physicals)
“We need to encourage both more clinical effectiveness research on clinical preventive services for adolescents and changes in the ways medical practices serving adolescents approach improving delivery rates,” said Leif I. Solberg, MD, the study’s chief author who is Associate Medical Director for Care Improvement Research, HealthPartners Medical Group. “It’s important that healthcare providers use every medical encounter, not just ‘well-child visits,’ which not all adolescents receive regularly, to address their clinical preventive services needs.”