Let Them Speak for Themselves: Improving Adolescent Self-Report Rate on Pre-Visit Screening

Randall W. Grout, Erika R. Cheng, Matthew C. Aalsma, Stephen M. Downs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background: Adolescent pre-visit screening on patient-generated health data is a common and efficient practice to guide clinical decision making. However, proxy informants (eg, parents or caregivers) often complete these forms, which may lead to incorrect information or lack of confidentiality. Our objective was to improve the adolescent self-report rate on pre-visit screening. Methods: We conducted an interventional study using an interrupted time series design to compare adolescent self-report rates (percent of adolescents ages 12−18 years completing their own pre-visit screening) over 16 months in general pediatric ambulatory clinics. We collected data using a computerized clinical decision support system with waiting room electronic tablet screening. Preintervention rates were low, and we created and implemented 2 electronic workflow alerts, one each to the patient/caregiver and clinical staff, reminding them that the adolescent should answer the questions independently. We included the first encounter from each adolescent and evaluated changes in adolescent self-reporting between pre- and postintervention periods using interrupted time series analysis. Results: Patients or caregivers completed 2670 qualifying pre-visit screenings across 19 preintervention, 7 intervention, and 44 postintervention weeks. Self-reporting by younger adolescents nearly doubled, with a significant increase of 19.3 percentage points (confidence interval [CI], 9.1−29.5) from the baseline 20.5%. Among older adolescents, the stable baseline rate of 53.6% increased by 9.2 absolute percentage points (CI, −7.0 to 25.3). There were no significant pre- or postintervention secular trends. Conclusions: Two automated alerts directing clinic personnel and families to have adolescents self-report significantly and sustainably improved younger adolescent self-reporting on electronic patient-generated health data instruments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-588
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • adolescent
  • confidentiality
  • patient-reported outcomes
  • quality improvement
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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