Few things are more gratifying for a clinical researcher than knowing that your research had a direct impact on clinical care.
In our Should I Stay or Should I Go study, we learned that a variety of barriers influenced whether or not families enrolled in pediatric weight management. Although some barriers were beyond our control, reducing barriers so families can access care (e.g., simplifying administrative processes, reducing wait times) were within our ability to change.
Over the past several months, Jill Saunders (Outreach Coordinator, Stollery PCWH, Alberta Health Services) and Alison Connors (Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Bariatric Resource Team, Alberta Health Services) were leaders in helping to establish a new (pilot) referral process that allows public health nurses to refer children for pediatric weight management in the Edmonton-area.
Historically, we required a referral from a doctor or nurse practitioner, so this referral mechanism offers an alternative and (hopefully) quicker route for families to access our services through public health, where many young children and families meet with public health professionals for immunizations and growth monitoring. We’re currently piloting this project with four local public health units and have had a very positive experience to date.
Our pilot will continue through the fall, and the health services data (number of referrals, wait time, family engagement) we’ll collect over the coming months will help us to decide our future steps. More to follow soon…