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Survey could help pediatricians better treat patients
Date:1/22/2009

GAINESVILLE Pediatricians usually have about seven minutes to sit face-to-face with patients during a typical visit. It's barely enough time to perform an exam, let alone assess how a child is faring at school or at home.

But understanding how well children function emotionally and socially could help pediatricians pinpoint health problems that might otherwise go undetected. Now, University of Florida researchers have developed a way for doctors to measure and interpret quality of life to understand how it affects a child's health, according to findings published online last week in the journal Value in Health.

Led by I-Chan Huang, Ph.D., a UF assistant professor of epidemiology and health policy research, UF researchers have established a range of scores that will allow doctors to understand the results of a quality-of-life survey in the same way they understand a blood pressure test.

The survey, called the Pediatrics Quality of Life Inventory, is widely used by researchers to measure whether certain treatments improve quality of life for patients, but they had no way to do the opposite find out if quality of life could be linked to certain health problems. Although researchers could measure whether their subjects' quality of life scores went up or down over time, doctors could not interpret whether test results were normal or red flags for hidden health problems because there was no baseline for normal.

For doctors, reading the survey results was sort of like trying to understand a blood pressure test without knowing what normal blood pressure should be.

"We believe the use of this new method allows us to expand the usefulness of the pediatric quality of life survey to capture different aspects of health status," Huang said.

To establish baseline scores for the survey, the researchers interviewed 1,745 parents of children enrolled in two state-funded health programs, pairing quality of life result
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Contact: April Frawley Birdwell
afrawley@ufl.edu
352-273-5817
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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