09:59pm Tuesday 31 March 2020

Parent preference on enhancing access to primary care for their children subject of U-M researchers study

A University of Michigan researcher has been selected to head a new study that will explore efforts to improve primary care for children by determining how many pediatricians are offering non-traditional services, including same-day care, night and weekend hours and email communication with providers.

The study, funded by a grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, will also survey parents about what non-traditional services they would find beneficial.

Joseph S. Zickafoose, M.D., M.S., a pediatrician who conducts research on the effects of social policies on child health outcomes, will serve as the primary investigator of the study. Zickafoose is a clinical lecturer in the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable diseases as well as a research fellow with the U-M Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit.

Zickafoose’s research often centers on improving primary for children by promoting the “medical home” approach, which is designed to facilitate partnerships between patients, parents and care providers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a medical home is “accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective.”

“Non-traditional, enhanced-access services, like the study is set to explore, are viewed as a modern way of providing additional access to primary care for children,” Zickafoose says.

By surveying parents about their preferences for using certain amenities, Zickafoose will be able to determine what services parents find beneficial. Providers can then use this information to determine where to focus resources and avoid investing in services that parents have little interest in.

Results of the study will be shared with healthcare providers, payers and policy-makers, providing direction for future medical home initiatives.

“Families’ priorities should play a key role as we consider changes to improve access to primary care for children. This study is a first step towards allowing parents’ priorities to help shape future medical home initiatives,” Zickafoose says.

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About C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital:
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in the U.S. News Media Group’s 2011 edition of “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals” including third in the country for heart and heart surgery. In November, the hospital moves to a new 1.1 million square feet, $754 million state-of-the-art facility that will be home to cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.

About the U-M CHEAR Unit:
Founded in 1998, U-M’s CHEAR Unit is a national leader in the analysis of the American health care system and the organization and financing of care for children. Since its inception, the CHEAR Unit has been awarded over $40 million in research grants from federal, state, and foundation sources. The CHEAR Unit comprises core faculty from the Schools of Medicine, Social Work, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Public Health, Business and Law. Multidisciplinary teams provide the structure for research of community, state and national child health policies, practices, and programs. There are more than 30 faculty affiliated with CHEAR.

Written by Lauren McLeod

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