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Better Medical Care for More Children

September 22, 2015

“More than half of the children in the U.S. do not receive recommended primary care,” says pediatrician and researcher Sarah Goff, MD.

Goff has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to look at pediatrics practices in Massachusetts that provide high levels of appropriate primary care to children, and to discover the strategies that go into such high quality care. The aim is to make those strategies available to all pediatrics practices so that they may improve the care they provide.

What Makes the Best, the Best?

Dr. Goff recognizes that a myriad of factors contribute to quality of care.

During the first phase, Goff and her colleagues will visit pediatric practices that have high scores for both quality indicators and patient experience on the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) website, and ask them, “What do you think makes your practice good?”

She is looking at organizational strategies the practices may identify, such as using an electronic medical record, as well as what she calls ‘Yelp factors,’ such as the friendliness of the receptionist.

“We are looking for the secret sauce,” says Goff.

Closing the Gap

In the second phase, Goff’s team will survey all pediatric practices that have scores reported on the MHQP website to find out if they have any of the factors found in phase 1.

With that information, they can then explore whether there is a relationship between those factors and a practice’s performance on clinical quality measures, such as childhood immunization rates.

“There is a substantial gap between what is known to improve health care and the actual care provided, says Goff. “We want to raise the quality in both measures and help practices get better.”

> Dr. Sarah Goff is on the faculty of Baystate's Center for Quality of Care Research

> Learn more about Massachusetts Health Quality Partners and how to use their health care quality information to make informed decisions when choosing a health care provider.