Online Program

Digging deeper to engage parents in promoting child well-being: Empowering parents and leveraging well child visits to promote early and lifelong health of children and families

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:40 p.m.

Christina Bethell, PhD, MPH, MBA, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Baltimore, MD
Judith Shaw, Ed.D., M.P.H., R.N., College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Michele Solloway, PhD, Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA
Caitlin Murphy, MPA-PNP, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Baltimore
Heather Fitzgerald, MPH, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL

National guidelines recommend young children receive 15 well-child care visits in the first few years of life. Quality preventive services address parent priorities, identify early risk, and promote positive health. Pediatric providers and Head Start/Early Head Start Centers (HS/EHS) are expected to ensure clients receive high-quality well-child care; yet, persistent gaps in the quality of these visits exist. Parents can be key drivers to improve these visits and promote positive health.


An online, pre-visit tool (Well Visit Planner-WVP) was developed based on national Bright Futures’ recommendations for well-child care for children <6 years old.  Upon completion, the parent is given a "Visit Guide" specifying strengths, risks, and parent priorities for the visit. This guide can also be obtained by the child’s providers to ensure priorities are addressed.  The tool was implemented and evaluated in pediatrics practices and HS/EHS centers.


Parents readily participated in using the WVP, which took an average of 9 minutes to complete.  Over 92% of parents reported that the WVP helped them identify and ensure priorities were met, and would recommend the tool. Among other findings, psychosocial screening improved nearly 50% due to parents’ identification of topics as priorities for their visits. 


HS/EHS centers are adopting the WVP to engage vulnerable families and improve well-child care, recognizing the necessity of well-child visits for healthy development and school readiness. Tools such as the WVP can efficiently educate and utilize parents as key drivers to promote their child’s well-being, and can also address provider requirements for quality improvement.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Assess the value and methods for integrating the parent-driven Well Visit Planner tool into Head Start/Early Head Start centers and other community-based and pediatric health care settings; including links to engage families in improving service quality, health, and well-being.

Keyword(s): Head Start, Quality Improvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the PI to develop, test, and disseminate the WVP. Since 1996, I have been a national leader in the development of patient-centered performance measurement methods, including the NCQA-adopted CAHPS Children-with-Chronic-Conditions tool, the NQF-endorsed Promoting Healthy Development Survey, the Young Adult Health Care Survey, and multiple measures in the National Survey of Children’s Health. Under my leadership, the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative has contributed to the design of national patient-centered surveys.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.