Pediatricians and parents key to improving quality of children's health care

Tampa, FL (Jan. 14, 2004) -- Improving the quality of children's health care will require continued commitment by the nation's pediatricians and parents to demand effective as well as affordable pediatric care from legislators, insurers and providers of care, said Lisa Simpson, MB, BCH*, MPH, a University of South Florida pediatrician who holds the All Children's Hospital Guild Endowed Chair in Child Health Policy.

"While pediatricians have been forceful advocates for better insurance coverage for children, they've been less active in the policy debate over quality of care. Their voices need be stronger at both the state and national levels," said Dr. Simpson, a USF professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Child Health Outcomes. "At the same time, parents need to be given clearly understandable information about quality indicators so they can make informed choices about health plans and medical care for their children on the basis of quality and cost."

Dr. Simpson is the co-author of a report titled "Measuring the Quality of Children's Healthcare: A Prerequisite to Action" published this month as a supplement to the journal Pediatrics. The paper's other author is Denise Dougherty, PhD, senior child health advisor at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the lead federal agency for research on the quality and safety of health care.

The article prioritizes recommendations to move forward the national agenda for improving the quality of children's health care. The recommendations were developed by a group of 40 child health experts, advocates and purchasers of health care who met in Washington, DC. The top recommendation was to create an information technology system, designed with children's unique needs in mind, that would help physicians and other practitioners more efficiently track health care indicators like patient satisfaction, emergency room visits, pain levels and treatment outcomes.

"Systems that wor

Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
University of South Florida Health

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