Web-based software improves ADHD care and assessment of symptoms

Joan-Before
Amen Clinics

Original press release was issued by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Even though ADHD doesn’t only affect children, they are the most vulnerable among us. Knowing the symptoms well and intercepting the disease at its early stages leads to a much more joyful life. With the intention of allowing children to live on par with their peers, more thorough research on the illness is often required. Given how gleeful or headstrong children can become, it is not always so blatant as what the symptoms really are and what kind of treatment should they undergo.

With the recent rise of ADHD cases among U.S. children, pediatricians at busy community practices are getting a much-welcome help from a web-based software which is helping reduce ADHD behavioral symptoms in children.

“Our data show the software did improve the 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.” said Jeffery Epstein, PhD, the study’s principal investigator and director of the Center for ADHD at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The ADHD care quality improvement (QI) software was developed by Epstein and research colleagues at Cincinnati Children’s. The software helps community collect, score and interpret reports from parents and teachers regarding children’s ADHD symptoms, allowing pediatricians to better estimate whether medications are working with their patients.

The current study involved a clinical trial, coordinated through Cincinnati Children’s and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where study co-author Kelly Kelleher, MD, serves as director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice. The trial was conducted at 50 community based pediatric practices involving 199 providers. The providers were randomized to either provide ADHD care with the use of the QI software or without the intervention.

A total of 373 children with ADHD included in the study were prescribed medications for their conditions (165 children using the software and 208 without the use). According to the trials report, medicated children, which did not use the software experienced an average 10.19 points of symptom reduction while children, with the use of QI software, experienced an average symptom reduction of 13.19 points.

Researchers conclude that children cared for at practices with the technology had significantly more treatment contacts with clinical staff and a greater number of parent and teacher ratings to monitor the effectiveness of medications. The outcomes were also processed more quickly in comparison to practices without use of the software.

The study had couple of shortcomings though. Firstly, the inconsistency of data collection due to study’s community based nature – making it difficult to generalize the data to all community practices. Secondly, the study also focused only on the primary outcome of ADHD symptoms, not evaluating impairments such as school performance.

Epstein said that future goals include extending the software’s use to facilitate behavioral treatment as well as expanding use of the technology to include all patients with ADHD and patients with other pediatric mental illnesses.

Michal Madaras

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