Current Position Information
Family Practice Physician, Generoso P. Porciuncula, MD, Hayward, California
Scholarly Research Project
Improving the Rate of Physician Identification, Diagnosis and Management of Childhood Obesity in the FHC
Kevin Porciuncula, MD
Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, approximately 17% of children 2 to 19 years of age are obese. Primary care physicians are at the forefront of addressing this health crisis. The USPSTF recommends screening children 6 to 18 years of age for obesity and referral of obese children for intensive counseling and behavioral interventions.
An initial chart review was completed of 295 well-child encounters ages 3-19 between January 2016 and June 2016. Interventions were employed which included quarterly reminders via an electronic newsletter, encouraging the use of template phrases and the creation of a new dot phrase to simplify the referral process. A post-intervention chart review was conducted.
The rate of obesity in the UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center (SFHC) was noted to be 25%. Following intervention, the utilization of a template phrase to document SHAPE-5 education improved from 43% to 72%. Documentation of obesity improved from 46% to 69% and the referral rates improved from 27% to 45%.
We improved the rates of physician identification, diagnosis and management of childhood obesity at the SFHC. The biggest barrier to improvement appeared to be a lack of acknowledgement by parents that this is an important health issue and the lack of time to address this during a well-child visit.
While rates have improved, further work needs to be done to educate our patients and their family about the health risks of obesity.