Testing & Screening Tips for Pediatric Lead Poisoning

Blog
By Ann Fiala, RN, BSN, CPHRM, CHC, Senior Risk Consultant, Coverys

Lead toxicity among children in the United States has been a public health issue for decades, and statistics show the problem is widespread with: Following are tips to help you enhance your lead screening and testing protocols.
  1. Broaden screening criteria. While screening standards should reflect what we know about the socioeconomics of lead poisoning—a disproportionate number of the more than 500,000 children estimated to have elevated lead levels are black, migrants, refugees, foreign adopted, and/or on Medicaid—there are other factors to consider. For example: an increasing trend to purchase and renovate older homes has exposed children from all walks of life to lead-based paint, drinking water tainted with lead, and other sources of toxicity.  
  2. Implement a smart screening strategy. At annual check-ups with pediatric patients (particularly those aged six and younger), ask the parent or guardian the questions below. If they answer “yes” to any of these questions, the child should receive a blood test to measure his or her lead level. Because there is a potential for exposure to infants in utero, OB/GYNs should ask pregnant patients similar questions.
    1. Does your child live in or regularly visit homes built before 1950?
    2. Does your child live in or regularly visit a home built before 1978 that has had recent or ongoing renovation?
    3. Does your child have a sibling or playmate who has had lead poisoning?
    4. Does your child spend time with an adult whose job exposes him or her to lead? (Examples: construction, painting, metalwork.)
  3. Your zip code matters. Find out if your medical practice is located in or near a high-risk zip code (most states maintain such zip code lists, which are available online). And consider whether there’s more you can do to partner with public health and parents to address risk in your broader community.
Pediatricians and family physicians are necessary and important members of a larger team needed to address lead exposure. Remaining vigilant about screening and testing for lead among pediatric patients will make a meaningful difference in the health of countless children. For more information, please refer to our article Pediatric Lead Testing.
 
COPYRIGHTED
No legal or medical advice intended. This post includes general risk management guidelines. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal or medical developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal or medical advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.
 
 

Related Resources:

Seven Common Electronic Health Record Mistakes

Article - 1/10/2018
Improper use of electronic medical records may create a challenge in defending a healthcare provider’s treatment due to a perceived carelessness in documentation. Learn about seven common mistakes and how to avoid them. Read More »

Are Your Serum Lead Level Results Reliable?

9/5/2017
Serum blood tests run on a Magellan Diagnostics’ LeadCare® analyzer may result in falsely low readings. Read More »

Seven Ways to Protect Patient Safety During Mergers and Acquisitions

Blog - 6/21/2017
Healthcare services industry mergers and acquisitions are on the rise. Find out how organizations can help protect patient safety during these complex transitions. Read More »

Surgical Claims Data: Inpatient/Outpatient Comparison

Blog - 5/26/2017
Key insights into the risks of inpatient vs. outpatient surgery from Coverys claims data. Read More »

Mitigating Surgical Risks in the Outpatient Setting

Blog - 5/26/2017
Tips to mitigate surgical risks in the outpatient setting, based on Coverys claims data. Read More »

Preventing Infection in the Outpatient Setting

Article - 5/22/2017
Many services traditionally provided in acute care and inpatient settings have moved to outpatient settings, such as surgery centers and physician offices. This article provides insight into what healthcare providers can do to prevent infection and improve patient safety in the outpatient setting. Read More »

Pediatric Lead Testing

Article - 4/4/2017
Tips to help healthcare providers enhance their pediatric lead screening and testing protocols. Read More »

Fragmented Intelligence Breeds Fragmented Care

News - 3/1/2017
Article highlights the importance of data analytics in uncovering the root causes of medical malpractice claims. Read More »

Medication Errors: The Risks We Must Reduce

Blog - 2/14/2017
A root-cause analysis of 11,000 medication-related claims reveals top areas of concern. Read More »

Legal Concerns Regarding Medical Record Alteration

Article - 12/19/2016
An actual case study is used to illustrate how altering electronic medical records after the fact can damage the defensibility of a malpractice lawsuit. Read More »

Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Article - 12/5/2016
To help ensure medical assistants are used safely and effectively in your office or organization you must clearly define their scope of practice. This article provides tips on how to do so. Read More »

Pros and Cons of Dispensing Medication Samples

Article - 11/21/2016
Outlines the pros and cons of dispensing medication samples and steps you can take to help ensure patient safety. Read More »

Preventing Healthcare Worker Fatigue

Article - 11/7/2016
Extended work hours bring up concerns of worker fatigue and its effects on patient safety. Learn strategies to help prevent worker fatigue and mitigate risk. Read More »

How to Recognize and Respond to Zika

Blog - 9/2/2016
Tips to help physicians and healthcare providers recognize and respond to the Zika virus. Read More »

Communicating With Patients About Zika

Blog - 9/2/2016
How and what to communicate to patients regarding the Zika virus. Read More »

Reducing Zika Risk for Healthcare Providers

Blog - 9/2/2016
Identify and reduce risks to physicians and healthcare workers who treat patients with the Zika virus. Read More »

Addressing Patient Non-Compliance

Article - 8/18/2016
This article evaluates an actual non-compliance case study to illustrate why patients fail to follow treatment plans and how physicians and healthcare providers can work to promote compliance, improve patient safety, and reduce malpractice risk. Read More »