Using Telemedicine to Improve Breastfeeding Outcomes in the Primary Care Setting
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Breastmilk is the most complete form of nutrition for most infants, and it is recommended that infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Nationally, breastfeeding rates fall short of the goals set by the Healthy People 2020 initiative and community-based breastfeeding support programs can lead to an increase in the initiation, duration, and exclusivity of breastfeeding (CDC, 2016). The purpose of this quantitative, pre-test/post-test design Doctorate of Nursing Practice project was to determine if the use of telemedicine technology to provide breastfeeding support would increase breastfeeding duration and exclusivity in mother infant dyads within a primary care setting. Data collected from the electronic medical record was used to compare breastfeeding duration and exclusivity rates between the pre and post intervention groups. Convenience sampling was used, and participants were established patients within the primary care clinics of a local pediatric primary care clinic. Three mothers attempted to participate in the intervention. Breastfeeding duration and exclusivity rates were found to be similar between the pre- and post-intervention groups. The goal of this project was to provide access to lactation support to a wider range of patients and prevent the barriers associated with attendance of on-site breastfeeding support groups. Providing mothers with resources for successful breastfeeding can lead to increased breastfeeding duration and exclusivity rates, which can further lead to improved health outcomes for both mothers and infants.
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