Online Software Can Boost ADHD Symptom Analyses in Children

September 28, 2016
Rachel Lutz

Online software can reduce attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behaviors in children, according to findings published in Pediatrics.

Online software can reduce attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behaviors in children, according to findings published in Pediatrics.

Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and other organizations observed 213 providers in 50 care centers to determine whether an ADHD quality improvement for community based pediatric practices improves patient outcomes. The study authors commented that the care given to children with ADHD in community based pediatric settings is often poor, so they aimed to investigate the recently developed interventions.

The intervention was made up of four training sessions, office flow modification, guided quality improvement, and an ADHD Internet portal to assist with treatment monitoring. A total of 577 patients were involved in the treatment processes and both parents and teachers rated the patients’ ADHD symptoms over the first year of treatment. 373 children were prescribed ADHD medication for their condition.

The researchers learned that compared to children at practices without the online technology, children under the care of community practices who used the technology had significantly more treatment contacts with clinical staff. These children also had greater numbers of parental and teacher ratings to observe how effective the medications were for the patients. As such, the researchers noted the efficacy of the treatments — the outcomes were assessed more quickly with the software.

“Our data show the software not only helped improve the quality of medication care received by children treated at community based pediatric practices, but it also improved treatment outcomes for these children,” principal investigator Jeffery Epstein, PhD, said in a statement. “As a result of the improved quality of ADHD care, children treated by pediatricians using this new technology had significantly less ADHD symptoms than children treated by pediatricians who were not given access to this web based technology.”

Because one of the limitations of the study that the authors indicated was its focus solely on the primary outcome of ADHD symptoms, the researchers said it was difficult to generalize the findings to all community practices.

In the future, the team wants to extend the software’s ability to facilitate behavioral treatment. They also pointed out the study did not evaluate functional impairments; often one of the main reasons a family may seek treatment for ADHD. Other options for expanding the technology include incorporating all patients with ADHD and integrating electronic health records, pay performance initiatives, and other mental disorders.

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