Pediatric educational and policy conferences are always special, providing opportunities to update knowledge and practice skills; introduce new practice guidelines with rationales for evidence-based changes; present the most recent research findings that have the potential to improve practice and healthcare outcomes; and unequalled opportunities for networking. Each year, Contemporary Pediatrics highlights presentations that are on the forefront of change in the journal the month following the conference.
Pediatric providers have a unique opportunity to improve overall healthcare outcomes at the population level. Population health, a major framework in pediatric nurse practitioner education and practice, uniquely supports the growth and development of infants, children, and adolescents to enable our patients to enter adult practices with healthy daily living habits and as healthy adults. However, all pediatric providers have a significant amount of work to do to achieve these population health goals through quality improvement efforts to review research and the evidence supporting practice guidelines supporting the overall health and well-being of each individual and the population as a whole.
Pediatric hypertension: Practice guidelines may improve population health
One highlight is the article entitled Pediatric hypertension criteria should reflect overweight and obesity. The authors provided data on the analysis of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) criteria in comparison to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guideline to identify and diagnose children at risk for or who have hypertension, and to provide care management to reduce the adverse effects of unrecognized and untreated hypertension in the pediatric and adolescent populations, to have better outcomes for adult populations by reducing the incidence of untreated childhood/adolescent hypertension and the resultant adverse effects throughout adulthood. Results revealed that the AAP guideline better identified children who were hypertensive who would benefit from total management including reduction in overweight and obesity.
Family stress and asthma: Means to improve population health
Another update for asthma management is presented in the article entitled, Novel study connects family stress to asthma exacerbation. This study revealed a causal relationship between family stress and asthma exacerbation. Study recommendations included a focus on family is a critical aspect to improving child asthma management.
Retinoblastoma: Early treatment and population health and well-being
An additional article highlighted is in the feature section titled Recognize & Refer, entitled Focus on retinoblastoma. A major take-away from this discussion with a pediatric oncologist, Dr. Lisa Diller is that early detection for child with a possible diagnosis of retinoblastoma may lessen the burden of the disease and reduce the number of individuals who must undergo enucleation. Pediatric providers who document a family history of retinoblastoma, and ask to see photographs of the child to observe for a difference in the eyes where one eye is white and one is red. Early referrals to a pediatric ophthalmologist and a genetic counselor to determine if there is a need for genetic testing.
Overall, for each of these highlighted articles, there is a solid take-away message that can easily be reviewed by practice partners and implemented in clinical settings across the country to truly implement the tenets of population health with a resulting improvement in the health of young adults as they leave pediatric practices and enter the world of adult medicine providers.