Vision and Eye Health in Children 36 to <72 Months: Proposed Data System

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Abstract

Purpose

This article provides a rationale for developing an integrated data system for recording vision screening and eye care follow-up outcomes in preschool-aged children. The recommendations were developed by the National Expert Panel to the National Center for Children’s Vision and Eye Health at Prevent Blindness and funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services. Guidance is provided regarding specific elements to be included, as well as the characteristics and architecture of such a data system. Vision screening for preschool-aged children is endorsed by many organizations concerned with children’s health issues. Currently, there is a lack of data on the proportion of children screened and no effective system to ensure that children who fail screenings access appropriate comprehensive eye examinations and follow-up care.

Results

The expansion of currently existing, or developing integrated health information systems, which would include child-level vision screening data, as well as referral records and follow-up diagnosis and treatment, is consistent with the proposed national approach to an integrated health information system (National Health Information Infrastructure). Development of an integrated vision data system will enhance eye health for young children at three different levels: (1) the child level, (2) the health care provider level, and (3) an epidemiological level.

Conclusions

It is critical that the end users, the professionals who screen children and the professionals who provide eye care, be involved in the development and implementation of the proposed integrated data systems. As essential stakeholders invested in ensuring quality eye care for children, this community of professionals should find increasing need and opportunities at local, state, and national levels to contribute to cooperative guidance for data system development.

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