Parents of infants who received financial coaching in a pediatric primary care setting were much less likely to miss well-child care visits for the first six months of life, according to new UCLA-led research.

The study, published in Pediatrics, followed 81 parent–infant pairs; most of the parents were mothers. The researchers also found that parents who received the coaching were significantly more likely than those who did not receive coaching to have their children vaccinated according to the recommended schedule.

Poverty-related social needs and other measures of patients’ financial hardship are among the most consistent predictors of missed health care visits, but interventions to ensure patients keep their appointments have tended not to focus on underlying financial needs of children and their families. For the study, conducted at the Harbor–UCLA Medical Center pediatric primary care clinic, parents received financial coaching in exam rooms during their infants’ well-child visits. 

“Improving the continuity and quality of pediatric care has been a focus for pediatric care nationally, and the medical–financial partnership approach offers a novel strategy,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Adam Schickedanz, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. 

Read the full news release on the UCLA Health website.