Office Practicum and Bright Futures Handouts

Office Practicum and Bright Futures Handouts

Often pediatric practices ask Office Practicum (OP) how the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) handouts are updated. It’s important to understand at the outset what Bright Futures is. Launched by HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau in 1990, the Bright Futures initiative is an important focus of multiple stakeholders including the AAP and other organizations dedicated to the health and welfare of children, including collaborative federal- and state-funded Bright Futures projects. As stated on the Bright Futures website, “Bright Futures is a national health promotion initiative dedicated to the principle that every child deserves to be healthy and that optimal health involves a trusting relationship between the health professional, the child, the family, and the community as partners in health practice.”

When the Bright Futures guidelines are periodically updated, they are done so with grant monies and include other stakeholders in addition to the AAP. After the update is published at the conclusion of the grant, the AAP team goes to work on developing a new “Bright Futures Toolkit” which includes handouts and visit templates. The Toolkit publication and availability is often 18-24 months after the published guidelines. 

OP has a relicensing agreement with the AAP, and when revisions and new editions are released, we use educational opportunities (such as the OP User Conference, the OP Help Center, and the SCOOP newsletters) to make this information available to our Practices. When the Toolkit is made available, OP works to incorporate appropriate changes into Well Visit Templates where possible. 

The AAP does not currently publish their Bright Futures content to their web site, which would give us immediate access to updates. When the AAP changes recommendations (for example, regarding rear-facing car seats) and handouts become available to OP, the AAP sends us a file and we load the PDFs on an OP-hosted server for access by our users. If the filenames of the handouts are the same, the update is transparent to the end user and does not require a release. The next time the end-user opens the file, they’ll have the revised content. If the filename is changed (or if a file is deleted), we must update the software itself to add or delete the name from your AAP local library so that the new name points to the new handout in our hosted environment. This type of update does require a release. 

Lastly, if these handouts are relevant, Practices must add them to appropriate templates for distribution to families. If the AAP deletes a handout, we do our best to notify you that those will need to be deleted from both your library and any templates that may have used them. 

While this may seem like a slow and cumbersome process, the OP team is dedicated to working collaboratively with the AAP to make updates to Bright Futures handouts as seamless as possible to Practices and end users. 

For more information about Bright Futures at the AAP, there is a wide variety of information about history and resources available.