Ed. Note – I observed in my ten years in the Mass. AAP mental health task force that we rarely discussed the role of time in how we approach the psychosocial assessment of children and families. The October 2012 task force meeting provided such an opportunity.
The mental health task force recently allowed us consider the issue of how much time we might consider spending doing psychosocial assessments. This is timely matter to consider because many believe the PCMH may provide us with an opportunity to improve the emotional health of families.
When I met with the task force I was offered a brief time to discuss two such challenges. The first one took place long ago when I chose to schedule well child visits at 30 minute intervals. That had implications for how much I would earn from my practice. It turned out to be a good decision because of what it helped me learn from the families in my practice.
But what was the second challenge? As a member of this task force I observed we never discuss the role of time regarding our approach to the psychosocial assessment of children and families. I shared why I believe spending a little extra time is so important in doing good assessments.
I prepared for each member a group of supportive documents. If you examine them, you might conclude you could provide adequate time for your patients and reap benefits not achievable in the usual 15 to 20 minute visit. Consider the following:
Most pediatricians, if they do a psychosocial assessment, derive a maximum of 3 benefits including making a diagnosis, instituting treatment of brief counseling and medication, and/or making a referral to MCPAP.
In contrast, my colleagues and I take adequate time once to carry out a three generational assessment in our own practice. By doing so we could derive 20 distinct benefits, validating this on a number of occasions. See the article, “On Becoming a Course Leader” for additional details.
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I would like to thank the following for their generous support, without whom this web site and training program would not exist: The Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation, The Alden Trust, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Project INTERFACE (Newton Public Schools and the U.S. Department of Education), the Locke Educational Fund at Newton- Wellesley Hospital, Aetna Health Plan, the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, and the families of my medical practice.
I hope you find this site useful and encourage any comments.
- Dr. Howard King, M.D.