Multifaceted but Invisible: Perceptions of the Value of a Pediatric Cognitive Specialty.
Year of Publication
2018 Jun 26
<p><strong>BACKGROUND: </strong>Systems for standardizing physician payment have been shown to undervalue cognitive clinical encounters. Because health care reform emphasizes value-based approaches, we need an understanding of the way pediatric cognitive specialties are used to contribute to the provision of high-value care. We sought to investigate how clinical and administrative stakeholders perceive the value of pediatric infectious disease (PID) specialists.</p>
<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>We conducted qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of physicians and administrators from 5 hospitals across the United States in which children are cared for. All interviews were transcribed and systematically analyzed for common themes.</p>
<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>We interviewed 97 stakeholders. Analysis revealed the following 3 domains of value: clinical, organizational, and communicative. Clinically, PID specialists were perceived to be highly valuable in treating patients with unusual infections that respond poorly to therapy, in optimizing the use of antimicrobial agents and in serving as outpatient homes for complex patients. Respondents perceived that PID specialists facilitate communication with patients and their families, the health care team and the media. PID specialists were perceived to generate value by participating in systemwide activities, including antimicrobial stewardship and infection prevention. Despite this, much of the valuable work PID specialists perform is difficult to measure causing some administrative stakeholders to question how many PID specialists are necessary to achieve high-quality care.</p>
<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>With our findings, we suggest that pediatric cognitive specialties contribute value in multiple ways to the health care delivery system. Many of these domains are difficult to capture by using current metrics, which may lead administrators to overlook valuable work and to under-allocate resources.</p>