Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Weight Management Care Delivery

Those of us who serve on the POWER Governance Board are working hard to keep a focus on the current operations of POWER and what might be needed as all of us navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Our enrolled patients deserve our attention as they have committed to be a part of moving our science forward. We first and foremost hope that you, your families and colleagues are well, are working to stay as safe as possible and are looking out for one another.

The COVID-19 crisis has affected the care delivery of pediatric weight management throughout the world and certainly within our programs. Most, if not all, sites have suspended in-person office visits. Some have been allowed to convert, or are in the process of converting, office-based visits to virtual/remote visits with various ways of recording, or not recording, measurements like height and weight. Some are doing more non-visit, “Non-Ht/Wt Encounters” to stay connected to patients.

We have an opportunity with POWER to capture these recent changes with pediatric weight management and what they might mean for patients seeking treatment. We want to continue to tell the stories of our patient-families and share the consequences of this crisis, but also the innovation and adaptations that we’re making that could, in many circumstances, lead to new and effective ways to help our patients do as well as they had been or even better than before.

We are doing these things at this time:

  • Submitting an amendment to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s IRB to allow sites to enroll new patients into POWER during or soon after a virtual/remote provider new patient visit using a script.

  • Defining a “visit” as in-office OR virtual/remote AND including a medical or psychologist provider AND where a height and weight were expected but not necessarily obtained.

  • Defining an “encounter” as any contact by a program staff member, including providers, where a height and weight was not expected.

  • Planning to update the RAVE database to allow for identification of a visit as having been done in-office OR virtually/remotely while working on guidance about HT/WT measurements.

  • Expecting that those performing virtual/remote visits follow their institution’s guidance on documenting height and weight in your EMR (leaving blank, self-report, etc.).

  • Encouraging sites to think through how they may participate in eventually uploading “Non-HT/WT Encounters” that they are having with patients. These are able to be captured in POWER.

  • Building a brief survey for site leads to help us capture the impact of COVID-19 on our programs.

We understand that some of our members are being called away to serve in other areas, may have institution-specific requirements regarding research activities, and there may be interruptions or delays in POWER enrollment and data collection. We continue to desire your input and your help with allowing POWER to be an important part of how we improve the health of our patients.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this and how we can be helpful as you navigate the COVID-19 crisis at your site. 

Sincerely,

POWER Governance Board