New research was presented at FMX 2020, the 2020 American Academy of Family Physicians virtual Family Medicine Experience, from October 13-17. The features below highlight some of the studies emerging from the conference.

Research indicates that limited education is associated with poorer health and decreased life expectancy, as well as higher medical costs over a lifetime when compared with optimal education. With evidence also suggesting that students can benefit from a triangle of communication between their parents, educators, and healthcare providers in which all parties are connected and providing the best opportunities for the student, researchers initiated a quality improvement project to determine how to increase such communication. With the project, individualized education plan (IEP) release forms were provided to a rural family medicine clinic, which allowed parents to sign the forms on the spot and the provider to send the form to the school district to request the students’ IEPs. Parents were also encouraged to sign IEP release forms for their child’s provider during students’ annual IEP meetings with the school. These simple steps opened communication between the school and provider and encouraged parents to ensure their child had a healthcare provider who they were seeing at least annually for a well child examination. “By opening these communication channels, providers can ensure that students are accessing all available services to them,” say the study authors. “Often, these services are not being utilized by the parent or child, even [when] the school district has recommended them. Being able to recommend these outside resources to the family is just one more tool in the toolbox a provider can use to help their patients.”