The Well Visit Planner
[blockquote type="blockquote_line" align="left" width="80"]92% of parents reported they would recommend the use of the WVP online tool to other parents[/blockquote]

WVP Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About the Well-Visit Planner

What is the WVP?

The Well-Visit Planner (WVP) is an online pre-visit planning website that enables the parent to optimize use of visit time by focusing on the priorities, concerns and other issues specific to the child and family. The WVP provides a series of interactive questions to be completed prior to the visit and takes an average of 10 minutes for parents to complete. A customized visit guide is then generated for use by parents and their child’s health care providers. It also includes access to educational materials and discussion tips for each of the Bright Futures defined visit-specific focus areas. Carefully anchored to national recommendations, the WVP Suite of Tools are currently available for the 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24 and 36 month and 4, 5 and 6 year well visits, in both English and Spanish.

Are the questions asked in the WVP appropriate for our population?

Questions in the WVP are based on American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures Guidelines which is recognized by Pediatricians nationwide as the gold standard for guiding pediatric well-visits and engaging families and communities in the care of their children. A national expert panel developed the WVP to ensure that the questions are both relevant and appropriate for a wide range of young families. The questions contained in the WVP were tested with parents of children under 40 months old to ensure that they were readable and understandable. Most of the questions are written at or below an 8th grade reading level except in cases where doing so changed the meaning of the question or made it incomprehensible.

How was the WVP Developed and What are People Saying about the WVP?

National experts, families and pediatric providers all collaborated in the design, development and testing of the WVP to ensure feasibility and to optimize impact on the quality and efficiency of the well well-child visit for parents, children and provider teams alike. Initial testing documented improvements to provider office workflow, patient engagement, patient experience, and quality of care.

Requiring an average of 10 minutes to complete, 92% of parents reported they would recommend the use of the WVP online tool to other parents.

Why use the Well-Visit Planner?

What are the benefits of adding another process into our busy family interactions?

  • Accomplishing HS/EHS Performance Standards via use of WVP
  • Documenting parents’ concerns expressed at well child visits – hard copy or e-copy
  • Solidifying family goals around health
  • Changing families’ perspectives that HS and medical home are 2 separate silos that exist to help them – we work together
  • Strengthening the relationship between the Head Start program, health care providers, and the family, and increasing family engagement.

Will our population actually use an online tool? What if they only access the internet on their mobile device or at the library?

The tool is available online and in a paper-pencil “Shared Encounter Form”, however, we highly recommend using the online version. For parents that do not have ready access to computers or printers, the public library often has these resources available for free. A growing majority of young parents access the internet everyday including families without home computers and families living at or below the poverty line. In addition, an increasing proportion of disabled parents are using the internet regularly.

Parents can use the WVP on their mobile device; however the interface is not optimized. We plan to optimize the WVP for mobile use in the future. In short, many parents use the internet on the daily basis. Getting your families to use the WVP online is less about access to technology and more about building a culture where parents are actively engaged in preparing for their child’s well-visit. If you receive feedback from your families that an internet-based tool is not useful please contact the CAHMI.

How does the Well-Visit Planner work?

What topics are covered in the WVP and how does it work?

The WVP is anchored to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ and Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Bright Futures Guidelines and includes key age-specific developmental milestones for each of the 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24 and 36 month and 4, 5 and 6 year well-visits. There are three steps to completing the WVP:

  • Step 1: Answer a questionnaire about your child and family. Includes questions about positive observations of the child, child health and developmental surveillance, the child and family environment, identification of special health care needs.
  • Step 2: Pick your priorities. Includes age-specific topics and embedded educational materials. General topics include family functioning, nutrition and feeding issues, establishing routines, behavior and development, language development, toilet training, TV and media use, guidance and discipline, sleep, domestic violence, oral health and safety concerns.
  • Step 2: Visit Guide. Dynamically generated from steps one and two, the visit guide is a summary of responses that are important to discuss with the child’s health care provider, selected priorities with relevant example questions and space for notes.

The WVP Guide to Topics and Questions provides a comprehensive list of questions asked specific to each age group.

What is the reading level of the questions in the WVP?

The questions contained in the WVP were tested with parents of children under 6 years old to ensure readability and understandability. Most of the questions are written at or below an 8th grade reading level except in cases where doing so changed the meaning of the question or made it incomprehensible.

Will the WVP help families with children with special health care needs (CSHCN)? What if the child is doing fine and doesn’t need any help?

Yes, the WVP can help all families, including children with special needs. The WVP is a planning tool to help families identify priority topics, prepare for the next well-child visit and engage the family in the child’s health, regardless of how the child is doing at the moment. Even if a child is doing fine, there may be important issues to discuss, concerns that the family has, or other issues not directly related to the child’s current health or developmental status — for example, real or potential dangers in the neighborhood or at school, anticipated changes in a family’s situation such as job change or move, or problems with the health of a family member. Moreover, the child’s or family’s situation may change between the time the guide is filled out and the visit takes place. The WVP can support the family by triggering ideas about important topics to discuss during the visit.

Should I use the WVP in center- or home-based visits?

Since the WVP requires internet access, it may be easier to start with center-based visits. For families with low or no literacy, HS/EHS staff will need to walk the families through the tool verbally. The WVP should also be introduced to your home-based population, encouraging families to access the tool independently. A hard copy pen and paper version of the WVP is available for households that do not have access to computers or printers.

Is there a paper version of the WVP?

Yes, the Shared Encounter Forms, available on the Shared Encounter Forms section of this website, provide the family with an opportunity to answer the WVP questions, but many of the benefits of the WVP are missing. These include the summary Visit Guide which highlights topics important to discuss with the medical provider, and access to educational resources on topics of interest to the family. We highly encourage you to use the online version if possible.

Will the HS/EHS site get a copy of the WVP Visit Guide?

Staff may ask parents to share a copy (via paper, email, etc.) for HS/EHS records if the parent is comfortable doing so.

Does the WVP include any standardized screening tools? Does the WVP screen for ASD or other development disabilities?

The WVP is a general surveillance tool to which more specific screeners can be added. The WVP includes the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) screener, and also links to publicly available screeners such as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), and the Promotion Health Development Survey (PHDS).

Family Engagement

Why is it important to engage parents in well-child care?

Despite improvements in some areas, studies continue to show persistent gaps in the quality of well-child care and the nation’s capacity to promote the healthy development of young children. Improving care means improving communication and partnerships with parents and meeting the unique priorities and needs of each child and family. The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) designed the guideline-based, easy to use WVP to help providers efficiently meet their well visit quality goals.

When will I introduce the WVP tool to parents?

We suggest introducing the tool during the 30 or 45 day appointment. You can help the parent fill out the tool during the appointment if that works best, and/or if they don’t have internet access from home. “Socialization days” or other times when families are at the center may provide more opportunities to fill out the WVP.

How many families should I engage in use of the WVP?

Start by engaging 5 families in the pilot period. Then focus on high need/high risk children to avoid overwhelming HS/EHS team or providers.

How do I get families to use the WVP?

Getting families to actively engage in their healthcare can be challenging. However, the WVP is specifically designed to ease this process. The WVP Implementation Portal includes many Supplemental Resources that help teach your families about the WVP and encourages them to use it. Included in the resources are posters, fliers and postcards that you can either use directly or customize for your setting. We also provide written and spoken scripts for inviting families to participate. You can also consider using small incentives such as handing out special stickers to children whose parents completed the tool prior to their well-visit.

Provider Engagement

Why is the WVP valuable for a healthcare provider?

Well-child visits cover a large portion of health care encounters for young children. Gaps in the quality of well-child care are well documented. Engaging parents is essential for improving care for children. The WVP is an evidence-based, easy-to-use tool that actively engages parents as partners in the well child visit.  The WVP can:

  • Help the parent identify issues that they might not otherwise articulate;
  • Alert the provider to key issues that need to be addressed;
  • Improve parents’ satisfaction with and overall quality of the visit; and
  • Improve the work flow in the practice.

Large national health policy directives from organizations such as the Office of the National Coordinator and the American Board of Pediatrics encourage and incentivize practices that use Health IT to engage their patients in quality improvement. Additionally, both providers and Head Start organizations can use the WVP as a quality improvement project.

Are pediatricians expecting to see the WVP? How and with what do I engage them on learning about the tool?

Pediatricians will be familiar with American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures Guidelines, however they might not know about the WVP. The WVP Visit Guide that parents receive after completing the tool and which we encourage parents to bring to their Pediatrician has orienting information for the healthcare provider.

How and with what do I engage providers on learning about the WVP tool?

If your Early Head Start or Head Start Center has a relationship with the providers that care for your families we encourage you to contact them. You can also direct them to the WVP Implementation Portal where more information is available.

Can the WVP be used for Maintenance of Certification (MOC)?

No, not at this time. However, we are in the application process with the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) to have the WVP as an available option for fulfilling Part 4 of the ABP MOC requirements. It will be available as part of an integrated package with the CAHMI-developed Promoting Healthy Development Survey and as a standalone quality improvement project. Email info@cahmi.org to be notified when the WVP is available to be used for ABP MOC.

Does the WVP meet Meaningful Use Objectives?

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Meaningful Use objectives incentivizes providers to increase their patient engagement activities through health information technologies in order to improve quality care delivery. The WVP is a tool designed in line with Meaningful Use objectives to help providers meet these standards.

Patient Confidentiality and use of WVP data

Does the WVP collect Protected Health Information (PHI)?

NO: The WVP does not collect protected health information (PHI) or information that can lead to the identification of the parent or child. For the public use website parents are asked to provide a few pieces of personally identifiable information: child’s first name, and child’s date of birth. However, this information is NEVER stored in our database. Rather, they are used “on-the-fly” to calculate the appropriate upcoming well-child visit. That visit (e.g. 4 month, 6 month, 9 month etc.) is stored in our database rather than the date of birth.  Parents must consent and agree to the Terms & Conditions of the WVP before completing it.

Parents can, if they choose, email themselves or their provider the Visit Guide, but this takes place outside of our website. The CAHMI is not responsible for the transmission of any personally identifiable information sent via email through a parent or provider’s personal or professional email accounts.

Identifying information connected to your computer (IP address) will not be recorded by the CAHMI at any time.

How is the WVP information being used? Where is data being stored?

The Well Visit Planner is part of study conducted by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative and approved by the Institutional Review Board at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As such, the CAHMI tracks overall use of the WVP and population-level information to lean how and where the tool is being. The CAHMI uses the information for research purposes and improvement of program materials. The CAHMI does not have the ability to identify individuals from the data that is stored. The online WVP includes an informed consent form which the parent must fill out completely prior to using the tool. Currently the WVP is only available to parents who are 18 years or older due to privacy and legal restrictions.

Can we use the WVP to monitor, track, and report?

If you wish to monitor, track and report using the WVP you need to set-up a custom URL with the CAHMI. Please contact us, info@cahmi.org. A custom URL allows us to identify your population in our database and provide you with data for monitoring, tracking and reporting. Note, however, that individual respondents will not be identifiable.

Where is the WVP data stored?

Data from the WVP is stored on CAHMI’s secure servers and no PHI or identifiable information is collected.

Technical Assistance

Who maintains the WVP and is technical assistance available?

The CAHMI team will respond to all questions and technical difficulties within a few business days. Please contact info@cahmi.org if you have any technical difficulties or comments or concerns about the WVP.

How much does the WVP cost?

The online tool at www.wellvisitplanner.org is free to the public. Providers, researchers and other parties interested in implementing a practice-specific website or integrating the tool into your EHR should contact info@cahmi.org for price estimates.

Who sponsors the WVP?

The Well-Visit Planner (WVP) is a project of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI). It was developed through support from the U.S. Department of Health & Human ServicesHealth Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal & Child Health Bureau(MCHB) under grants R40 MC08959 03-00 and Cooperative Agreement 1-U59-MC06980-01. The CAHMI and DRC are responsible for the information presented on this site. Please contact info@cahmi.org for further information.

How were the questions in the WVP developed?

The WVP was developed and tested by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) for use in pediatric practices over four years and through a grant from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (R40 MC08959 03-00; 2008-2012). The WVP was developed with an expert Advisory Group, including authors of the Bright Futures Guidelines. All content in the WVP is anchored to Bright Futures (BF) recommendations and specific items were written based on the expert input on item priority, assessment and intent. We would like to thank our team of advisors: Betsy Anderson, David Bergman, Emily Brophy , Dimitri Christakis, Kellena Collier, Paula Duncan, John Kilty, Amy Kurian, Cynthia Minkovitz, Tami Olson, Amy Perritti, Ed Schor, Judy Shaw, and Sara Slovin.