As the prevalence of obesity in the United States has risen, so too has the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, a disease typically associated with adults. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended screening children 10 years of age or older who are at substantial risk for the presence or development of type 2 diabetes. They also recommend that primary prevention efforts, such as lifestyle modification, be directed to high-risk children whose glucose levels are elevated but not yet diagnostic of diabetes. The choice of screening methodology remains controversial and implementation within the pediatric primary care setting is far from ideal. The purpose of this study is to implement the ADA screening guidelines for type 2 diabetes within pediatric primary care practices using a computer decision support system (CDSS) developed by our research group - the Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation (CHICA) system. Using the CHICA system we will also be implementing clinical management prompts for the pediatrician caring for children with risk factors for type 2 diabetes, with impaired fasting glucose (IFG), or with fasting glucose indicating the possibility of diabetes. One of the greatest strengths of the CHICA system is its ability to implement evidence-based recommendations from authoritative sources, in this case the ADA, in a format that integrates easily into routine pediatric care; the system can therefore overcome many of the barriers described by pediatricians to the screening of type 2 diabetes in children. While the use of CDSS is not new, its application within the pediatric population has not been as pervasive as in adult medicine. Moreover, the application of CDSS to the screening, diagnosis and management of type 2 diabetes in children is relatively unexplored.
The specific aims for this study are to: (1) Expand and modify an existing computer-based decision support system (CHICA), to identify those children 10 years of age or older who are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, to provide pediatric physicians guidelines to screen for type 2 diabetes, and to coordinate the diagnosis and long-term management of the condition and (2) Demonstrate both the feasibility and effectiveness of the CHICA Type 2 Diabetes Module to recognize those children in need of screening for type 2 diabetes and facilitate prompt diagnosis and management of the condition. Phase one (Aim 1) focuses on programming and enhancements to the CHICA system and will take 12 months to complete. Phase two consists of a randomized controlled trial conducted in four pediatric clinics in order to evaluate Aim 2. Randomization will be by clinic and we hypothesize that the coupling of CDSS with ADA guidelines will result in greater compliance with ADA recommended screening procedures as well as better clinical management of children identified as having pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Phase two will begin in year 2 and continue through quarter 2 of year 4. Phase three involves statistical analysis and manuscript preparation.
Increasing rates of type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents has considerable long-term implications not only for the affected individuals, but also for society and the health system as a whole, as earlier onset of the condition can lead to earlier onset of complications. Pediatricians have unique and important opportunities to screen for type 2 diabetes and to promote lifestyle modification for those children identified with pre- diabetes; yet implementation of these practices within the pediatric primary care setting is far from ideal. Computer decision support systems, such as the Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation (CHICA) system developed by our research group, offer the best hope to equip pediatricians to screen for type 2 diabetes and to provide appropriate clinical management to patients who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
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