Last Updated: Sep 2, 2021
By Dr. Steven Shapiro, PAMED member
The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) awarded our practice – Pediatric Medical Associates – a Community Health Reinvestment Grant sponsored by Highmark, Inc. for the purposes of advancing the level of preventative health care that we could offer to our community.
When the opportunity arose for us to be applicants, we immediately recognized a chance to improve the existing services that the practice already offered. The grant will allow us to invest in technology; something an average independent primary care pediatric practice may never approach given the nature of how limited funds exist in primary care for growth and development. Funding will allow us to optimize practice workflows and adopt best practices that otherwise may never have been attainable. We will have an opportunity to investigate more time efficient methodologies to deal with many of the children and young adults who present with emotional, social, and behavioral disorders.
The practice participates in a wide-range of surveillance activities, none of which are more important than screening new mothers for post-partum depression. We regularly employ the use of the Edinburgh Screening Tool for mothers at our well visits beginning at one month of age. We have done an exceptional job as physicians in providing proper screening and proper referrals to our new mothers when necessary. Ideally, and to make the process seamless with our obstetrical colleagues, this grant will allow us to explore other tools that might make our process much more efficient and complete.
We will use the Community Care Grant funds to optimize well child preventative care workflows to increase the reliability of evidence based and nationally recommended preventative screening. It is our hope that we can update our audiology and eye vision testing capability, add infant strabismus evaluations, and eventually explore connecting our Electronic Medical Record to various health care inventories for such diagnoses as ADHD, drug and alcohol screening, and other developmental tools.
Participating in PAMED’s Care Centered Collaborative as well as our own pediatric- focused Women and Children’s Healthcare Alliance (WCHHA) also provides for additional opportunities for health care improvement within a larger network of patients with seamless referral channels. This will enable our practice to learn about and adopt best practices from other participating providers and to coordinate care for maximum impact on our patients’ well-being.
We’ve begun our research. Our hope as a practice is to be as efficient as possible in determining best practices, but research in many of the areas previously mentioned requires significant due diligence to find best products to aid the effort. This process may indirectly provide a greater challenge to improve our level of understanding of how to make an independent primary care pediatric practice in the ex-urban setting an even better resource for the patients that it serves.