Commitment to Research
The PPOC is committed to advancing pediatric primary care by developing and participating in research projects that relate directly to improvements in pediatric medical care. The following are examples of current PPOC research activities.
Asthma exacerbations among children 5-17 years of age: definition and risk factors
This innovative research project was designed primarily to test the association of a variety of processes of asthma care with improved health outcomes. The results of this study will allow the PPOC to develop asthma quality improvement programs that guide physicians toward providing optimal care for their patients with asthma. The study was presented at the 2011 Pediatric Academic Societies' Meeting and is currently being prepared for publication.
Healthcare costs for a pediatric population across the spectrum of care
This analytic study was designed to gain an understanding of the pattern and distribution of total medical costs across the PPOC population. In the context of rising healthcare costs, such analyses are critical to designing rational approaches to cost containment. The results of this study were presented at the 2011 Pediatric Academic Societies' Meeting and will serve as an important foundation for PPOC's ongoing efforts to design high quality and efficient care for our patients.
Xylitol syrup for the prevention of acute otitis media in otitis-prone children
Acute otitis media (also called middle ear infection) is one of the most common diseases in childhood and is the number one reason for antibiotic prescriptions for U.S. children. This study, funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the NIH, is a practice-based randomized trial of xylitol syrup for the prevention of acute otitis media in children 6 months to 5 years of age who have a history of recurrent ear infections. Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar with proven antibacterial properties and has been shown to prevent ear infections in preliminary studies in Europe. This first major study of xylitol in the U.S. is being fielded in a number of PPOC practices as well as non-PPOC pediatric practices throughout country.
Hepcidin-based screening for infantile iron deficiency
Iron deficiency affects a large proportion of U.S. infants and is associated with delayed cognitive development. Current guidelines recommend that all infants be routinely screened for iron deficiency, but existing tests are less than ideal. Hepcidin, a liver protein that appears to be a very sensitive marker of iron levels in the body, may provide a better screening test than those currently available. The PPOC is collaborating with investigators from the Children's Hospital Boston Departments of Pathology and Hematology in this study, funded by the National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH in the hopes of developing a better screening test for this important pediatric condition.
Ambulatory sub-specialty visits in a large pediatric primary-care network
Ambulatory specialty care represents a large proportion of the overall cost of pediatric care and more rational use of specialists may lead to cost savings and improved quality. This research project analyzed the patterns of sub-specialty utilization within the PPOC network with the goal of identifying potential areas for improvement in the interface of primary and specialty care. Results of this study were presented at the 2009 Pediatric Academic Societies' Meeting and the primary manuscript is currently in submission.