Study: Clinical Decision Support Can Help Reduce Childhood Obesity

April 22, 2015 in News

Electronic clinical decision-support tools could help efforts to reduce childhood obesity, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, Healthcare IT News reports (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 4/21).

Study Details

For the study, researchers looked at how clinical decision support for pediatricians affected efforts to improve body mass index and care quality among children who are obese (Walsh, Clinical Innovation Technology, 4/21).

The three-part clinical trial tracked 549 children ages six to 12 with BMIs at or above the 95th percentile who were treated at 14 primary care practices between October 2011 and June 2012.

The first clinical trial group — which included five practices and 194 children — had access to modified electronic health records that alerted clinicians to children who had high BMIs and provided links with obesity screening guidelines, growth charts and details about weight management programs.

The second group — which included five practices and 171 children — received the same clinical decision-support services, as well as a health coach who could work with patients’ families via phone calls, text messages and emails.

The third group — which included four practices and 184 children — received standard care and did not have access to clinical decision-support tools.

Study Findings

The study found that the second group, which received clinical decision support and coaching services, saw the greatest reductions in BMI among children whose families and providers were most active in using the tools and support, compared with children who received standard care.

Although the intervention with clinical decision support and coaching yielded the greatest BMI reductions among active participants, the researchers noted that overall BMIs increased less among children who received the intervention that used clinical decision-support tools without the coaching.

The authors wrote, “Future studies should determine what minimal amount of coaching is necessary to achieve improvement in childhood obesity interventions” (McIntosh, Medical News Today, 4/21).

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