Quality Insights: Clinical Quality in Primary Care

Pediatric Medications and Testing:
Follow-up with Children Starting Medication for ADHD

Healthcare quality measure: This measure looks at children (6 to 12 years old) starting medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). It shows the percentage of children who had a follow-up visit with the doctor within 30 days of starting the medication.

Reasons for this measure: ADHD affects children in many ways. It can cause behavior problems that:

  • Make it hard for children to focus and pay attention
  • Cause children to be too active or not very patient
  • Make it hard for children to do well in school
  • Affect how well children get along with their family and friends
More than four million children (ages 4 to 17) have ADHD. The diagnosis of ADHD has increased by 3 percent each year since 2006. More than half of all children with ADHD take medication to help with behavior problems. Most children respond well and have no major side effects. But sometimes there can be problems or medication needs to be changed. This is why doctors should follow-up with children within 30 days of starting ADHD medication.

Ways your doctor can help...

  • Diagnose ADHD only after: finding out how your child functions over time; talking with you and your child; learning more from your child's teacher or others about his or her behavior.
  • As needed, prescribe medication for ADHD. The doctor should also plan a follow-up visit to check how well this medication is working.
  • Answer all your questions about ADHD and treatment options.
  • As needed, refer your child to a mental health or child development specialist. The specialist can give your child tests or offer other needed ADHD treatments.

Ways you can help...

  • Let your child's doctor know if you think your child has behavior problems.
  • Make and keep all follow-up visits with your child's doctor. It may take a while to diagnose ADHD.
  • Ask your child’s doctor about his or her training, experience, and resources for treating ADHD.
  • Make sure your child takes his or her medicine correctly. You can find directions on the label of each medication bottle.
  • Let your doctor know if your child has any medication side effects.
  • Learn about ADHD. The list below has ways to do that.

Ways to learn more...


 

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