The quality of metabolic newborn screening specialty care services: results of a survey of primary care providers

Minnesota Department of Health, USA.
Minnesota medicine 10/2012; 95(10):45-9.
Source: PubMed


Since 2001, approximately 500 children with inborn errors of metabolism (IBEM) have been identified through the Minnesota newborn screening program. The vast majority of them receive specialty care at the Pediatric Metabolism Clinic or the Phenylketonuria (PKU) Clinic at the University of Minnesota. In order to determine provider satisfaction with the quality of services at those clinics, we surveyed primary care physicians, certified nurse practitioners and a certified physician assistant, collectively referred to in this article as primary care providers, who referred patients with IBEM to one of the clinics. Our objective was to evaluate the quality of metabolic team specialty services for children with IBEM; identify strategies to ensure coordinated and comprehensive care for children with IBEM; improve metabolic specialty care and connection to services for children with IBEM and their families; and gather data to inform newborn screening programming through the Minnesota Department of Health. Responses revealed a high level of overall satisfaction with the referral processes, 2) the quality of verbal communications and written reports, 3) feedback to the primary care team and 4) the management plans for addressing the needs of children with IBEM within the primary care setting. Improvement in communication about emergency planning for children with IBEM is clinics as a result of the survey findings.

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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) are a phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous group of disorders caused by a defect in a metabolic pathway, leading to malfunctioning metabolism and/or the accumulation of toxic intermediate metabolites. To date, more than 1000 different IEM have been identified. While individually rare, the cumulative incidence has been shown to be upwards of 1 in 800. Clinical presentations are protean, complicating diagnostic pathways. IEM are present in all ethnic groups and across every age. Some IEM are amenable to treatment, with promising outcomes. However, high clinical suspicion alone is not sufficient to reduce morbidities and mortalities. In the last decade, due to the advent of tandem mass spectrometry, expanded newborn screening (NBS) has become a mandatory public health strategy in most developed and developing countries. The technology allows inexpensive simultaneous detection of more than 30 different metabolic disorders in one single blood spot specimen at a cost of about USD 10 per baby, with commendable analytical accuracy and precision. The sensitivity and specificity of this method can be up to 99% and 99.995%, respectively, for most amino acid disorders, organic acidemias, and fatty acid oxidation defects. Cost-effectiveness studies have confirmed that the savings achieved through the use of expanded NBS programs are significantly greater than the costs of implementation. The adverse effects of false positive results are negligible in view of the economic health benefits generated by expanded NBS and these could be minimized through increased education, better communication, and improved technologies. Local screening agencies should be given the autonomy to develop their screening programs in order to keep pace with international advancements. The development of biochemical genetics is closely linked with expanded NBS. With ongoing advancements in nanotechnology and molecular genomics, the field of biochemical genetics is still expanding rapidly. The potential of tandem mass spectrometry is extending to cover more disorders. Indeed, the use of genetic markers in T-cell receptor excision circles for severe combined immunodeficiency is one promising example. NBS represents the highest volume of genetic testing. It is more than a test and it warrants systematic healthcare service delivery across the pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical phases. There should be a comprehensive reporting system entailing genetic counselling as well as short-term and long-term follow-up. It is essential to integrate existing clinical IEM services with the expanded NBS program to enable close communication between the laboratory, clinicians, and allied health parties. In this review, we will discuss the history of IEM, its clinical presentations in children and adult patients, and its incidence among different ethnicities; the history and recent expansion of NBS, its cost-effectiveness, associated pros and cons, and the ethical issues that can arise; the analytical aspects of tandem mass spectrometry and post-analytical perspectives regarding result interpretation.
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