The goal of this study was to examine the effects of a new model for well-child care (WCC), the Parent-focused Redesign for Encounters, Newborns to Toddlers (PARENT), on WCC quality and health care utilization among low-income families.
PARENT includes 4 elements designed by using a stakeholder-engaged process: (1) a parent coach (ie, health educator) to provide anticipatory guidance, psychosocial screening and referral, and developmental/behavioral guidance and screening at each well-visit; (2) a Web-based tool for previsit screening; (3) an automated text message service to provide periodic, age-specific health messages to families; and (4) a brief, problem-focused encounter with the pediatric clinician. The Promoting Healthy Development Survey–PLUS was used to assess receipt of recommended WCC services at 12 months’ postenrollment. Intervention effects were examined by using bivariate analyses.
A total of 251 parents with a child aged ≤12 months were randomized to receive either the control (usual WCC) or the intervention (PARENT); 90% completed the 12-month assessment. Mean child age at enrollment was 4.5 months; 64% had an annual household income less than $20 000. Baseline characteristics for the intervention and control groups were similar. Intervention parents scored higher on all preventive care measures (anticipatory guidance, health information, psychosocial assessment, developmental screening, and parental developmental/behavioral concerns addressed) and experiences of care measures (family-centeredness, helpfulness, and overall rating of care). Fifty-two percent fewer intervention children had ≥2 emergency department visits over the 12-month period. There were no significant differences in WCC or sick visits/urgent care utilization.
A parent coach–led model for WCC may improve the receipt of comprehensive WCC for low-income families, and it may potentially lead to cost savings by reducing emergency department utilization.