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5064 Improving Access to Comprehensive Care for Pediatric Sickle Cell Patients through the Creation of Multispecialty Clinics

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 901. Health Services and Quality Improvement - Non-Malignant Conditions: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Sickle Cell Disease, Clinical Practice (Health Services and Quality), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) , Hemoglobinopathies, Diseases
Monday, December 11, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Margaret Holtz, PA-C1*, Mark Dovey, MD1*, John Broyles, CRNP1*, Suzanne Komaniak, RN1*, Kelsey Platte, PA-C2*, Ram Kalpatthi, MD3*, Amy Tiberi, PhD1* and Cheryl Hillery, MD4

1UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
2UPMC Children's Hospital of PIttsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
3Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA
4University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA

There are many barriers to health care for those in underserved populations such as the pediatric sickle cell population. Due to limitations of transportation, clinical availability, and lack of care coordination, pediatric sickle cell patients are at an increased risk of not receiving the extensive multi-subspecialty health care recommended to prevent potential sickle cell related complications that affect every organ system. To improve access to this multidisciplinary care, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) pediatric sickle cell program developed a multi-subspecialty collaborative clinic model to offer coordinated sickle cell and pulmonary care, which is critical for sickle cell patients due to the increased risk of pulmonary complications associated with sickle cell disease. By considering health care barriers experienced by our pediatric sickle cell population, we proposed that this coordinated subspecialty clinic model will increase compliance by offering patients and families the opportunity to receive synchronized care from two essential subspecialty groups in just one medical center trip. This increased access to preventative health care for the pediatric sickle cell population should contribute to decreased acute medical events that require critical care and other extensive resources within the health care system.

Methods: Two adjacent clinic appointments within the sickle cell and pulmonology clinics were designated for sickle cell patients also requiring preventative pulmonary care to be seen consecutively by both clinical teams during the same half day (one in sickle cell clinic and one in pulmonary clinic). The effect of improving completed referrals using this multi-specialty clinic model was assessed by retrospective electronic medical record review comparing the number of pulmonology referrals made by SCD team and pulmonary visits completed pre- and post- coordinated multi-subspecialty clinic initiative. The studied time period prior to the multispecialty clinic creation was chosen to be calendar year 2019 in order to eliminate the variable of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting outpatient clinic participation. Post-intervention data were collected during calendar year 2022 soon after the creation of this multi-subspecialty initiative.

Prior to the creation of this multi-subspecialty clinic model, coordinating CHP sickle cell and pulmonology care, only 24% of pediatric sickle cell patients referred for outpatient pulmonology consultation completed the clinical evaluation. Our program referred 53 of 168 total families during calendar year 2019, with only 17 patients completing their visit. Since beginning this multi-subspecialty clinic initiative, pulmonology evaluations completed by referred sickle cell patients increased to 55%. Thus, CHP’s multispecialty clinic offering coordinated sickle cell and pulmonology care increased completed pulmonology referrals by 129%. Using Pearson’s chi-square test to compare the relationship between the two categorical variables of prior- and post- multispecialty clinic formation with a null hypothesis of multispecialty clinics will not increase completed referrals, we found a value of 10.76, which is greater than the applied critical value of 9.21 (p=0.01). Therefore, these results are significant, and the null hypothesis was rejected.

In summary, by establishing this multi-subspecialty coordinated care at CHP for our pediatric sickle cell population, our goal of improving compliance with critical preventive care was achieved. We hope that this type of intervention will enhance the quality of life for children with sickle cell disease currently, as well as contribute to better health in the patients’ futures. We also predict that this improved preventive care will also contribute to decreased emergency care and extensive treatments required for patients cared by CHP. This multi-subspecialty care model also has the potential to benefit other pediatric patients with chronic diseases from underserved populations who experience similar barriers, both in CHP’s Western Pennsylvania region as well as underserved populations and health care organizations beyond our region. By applying an approach to care focused on reducing health care barriers to underserved populations, impactful improvements may be seen not only in the pediatric sickle cell population, but in the health care system at large.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH