Parent Suggestions to Enhance Information Exchanges in Well-Child Care

FocusSuggestionParent Comments
PrevisitChecklists: A “preview of coming attractions;” helps parents prepare for the visit and know what to expect.So if they could … just give you some printouts or something ahead of time so you know what to look forward to and different types of questions you may want to ask.
So if I had that list of questions ahead of time, I'd be more prepared for the visit.
[A checklist] also puts that seed in your head for the next 3 or so months. So if you see your child doing something you say, “Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be looking at that,” or the pediatrician said that might happen …
Office settingMore efficient use of wait times: Parents are sensitive to long waiting times, especially in multiple places (eg, waiting room and exam room). Use wait times as an opportunity to provide information.… you're waiting out in the waiting room while he's with other people and then you get taken to a room and then you wait in the room some more.
… as you're in the waiting room, they can give you like some information that you can read for the few minutes or however long, kind of like this is what we're going to go over during the visit or this is where your child should be.
PostvisitVisit summaries: Parents would like a recap of important visit information.… after your visit, he would actually either e-mail you or send you in the mail a printout of a description of what happened in the visit, things to look for, reminders … I think if our pediatricians would do that and maybe give you a summary of here's what we talked about in our meeting, here's some things to look forward to or things you can try, that would be really nice.
Workshops: Parents sought optional learning activities about child health and development, outside the traditional office visit and without children present.I've been looking for parenting classes and I can't find them … They have parenting classes but they're for how to take care of a newborn child, how to breastfeed them, take care of their umbilical cord, but they don't have any parenting classes …
If you took the children out of that equation, if the doctor's office offered up a seminar where you could come in the second Saturday of every month … and have a little mini discussion group … I think with the doctor in a group one-on-one would be good and everybody could discuss the issues and all parents are sitting there … sometimes you don't feel bad because someone else is going through it too, it helps you too.
CommunicationE-mail: Parents sought opportunities to share/obtain information outside the traditional office visit.… I can't tell you how many times a simple e-mail question and a simple e-mail answer would have sufficed, instead of you having to wait for the certain hours that they answer the phone and I can talk to a nurse.
… it's really hard because where I work, it's like a cube situation and I don't really want to be discussing my child's medical stuff in an area where every single person that I work with can hear … I like the idea of getting an e-mail.
Information referrals: Parents are concerned about the credibility of various resources and look to the pediatrician for referrals to trusted information sources.… It's very difficult, but who has time to check the source?
Maybe if the doctor could provide a list of websites …
But it would be nice to leave with some resources and some books or websites.
… if my doctor sent out kind of what ParentCenter[.com] did, it came from their office instead, even though I'm sure it would be mostly the same information, it would have had a higher priority if it came from them. I think it would be good business from their point of view.
Community connections: Parents do not expect pediatricians to be their sole source of information regarding child health and development and welcome assistance from other community resources.… seeing the pediatric nurse practitioner has made a big difference for the well-child care … I just feel that there's a lot more attention, a lot more questions asked … she asked me so many questions that I never would have thought of her asking me but I thought were so vital …
… potty training … when I have questions like that, honestly, I ask my son's day care teachers, because they deal with it … questions like that I feel more comfortable asking them because they are dealing with it on a daily basis.
… the benefit that I have is that I'm involved with the WIC program, so they are very good at talking to me about my child's eating habits, how many servings of vegetables he should be eating …