A Mixed-Methods Examination of Referral Processes to Clinic-Community Partnership Programs for the Treatment of Childhood Obesity.
Background: Partnerships with community programs have been used to improve access to obesity care and address clinical barriers to childhood obesity management; however, little is known about the program referral process. The objective of this study was to identify factors that affect the referral from clinics to community-based programs. Methods: Active Recreation through Community-Healthcare Engagement Study (ARCHES) is a mixed-method, implementation study designed to test the feasibility of establishing clinic-community partnerships to treat childhood obesity. We collected clinical referral and program attendance data from the six ARCHES clinic-community partnerships and conducted semistructured interviews (n = 19) with key stakeholders. Logistic regression models were used to identify referral characteristics associated with ever attending a community program. We used deductive thematic analysis to examine contextual factors affecting the clinical referral and subsequent attendance at the community programs. Results: Patients referred from individual providers [odds ratio (OR): 3.20, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08-9.48], specialty clinics (OR: 2.73, 95% CI: 1.48-5.05), and community wellness clinics (OR: 3.42, 95% CI: 1.05-11.13), had greater odds of ever attending the programs compared with patients from primary care clinics. Patients referred to cohort-based programs compared with open enrollment programs had greater odds of ever attending the programs. Stakeholders emphasized the value of communication within the partnership and with patients in clinical settings. Effective provider communication with patients involved engaging and program endorsing conversations to explain the value of the program. Conclusions: We identified factors that may improve the referral process in clinic-community partnerships to provide resources to primary care providers looking to address childhood obesity. Clinical Trial Registration number: NCT03246763.
Alexander, E; Skinner, A; Gaskin, K; Jones, J; Wong, C; Loflin, C; Fleming, R; Howard, J; Armstrong, S; Neshteruk, C
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