In partnership with primary care and families, the Center for the Urban Child and Healthy Family developed a new care model—the Pediatric Practice of the Future—to ensure all children are healthy and ready to learn, with adequate support to thrive, by five years old. The care model was developed using Human Centered Design methods, highlighting families’ goals and priorities for their health care. 

Launched just before the pandemic hit, the Center is delighted to have now enrolled 100 families and more than 200 children in the care model. An “innovation team,” including two pediatricians, a social worker, two community wellness advocates, a financial coach and a nurse implement the model which is designed to be a family-centered approach that transforms the relationship between the family and the care team and promotes health equity. When families join the Practice of the Future, they share information about their greater ecosystem of supports and strengths as well as any perceived gaps in support or challenges. This forms the foundation for the creation of family-driven wellness goals which are supported through frequent contact outside of traditional visits. Families co-design their well child visits with the team through engaging in pre-visit planning with our Community Wellness Advocates. All families are offered connection with an embedded financial coach.

To date, families have notably high rates of attendance at well child visits. Parents also have expressed appreciation about this new model of care, noting it positively impacts their well-being. One parent described their experience in the program: “I think that as a first time parent it was really helpful to reduce anxiety around figuring everything out, and it was nice knowing there were different people available. It was very comforting. I liked that I had access to people in different specialties and roles.”

In partnership with the BMC HealthNet Plan, the Center is working to identify a payment model that supports the right “dose” of access to a variety of flexible health care services, and to test new quality metrics that better relate to child and family well-being such as dyadic care, health equity, economic wellbeing and school readiness. In the coming months, the Center will begin the process of planning for scale of the elements of the model that are working to the larger Boston Medical Center pediatric clinic, as well as engaging a learning network of health centers and academic medical centers nationwide to understand how the model could scale in other settings.