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Just as children progress through milestones as they grow, the Rourke Baby Record has its own ‘developmental history’. When my medical partner and husband, James Rourke and I established our family medical practice in the small town of Goderich, Ontario in 1979, we developed a number of flow sheets. The baby record was the most successful and became popular with locums and colleagues.
We then embarked on the publication process, which was when the challenge began. It had been easy to develop a flow sheet for use in our own office, but we soon realized how difficult it was to thoroughly research the literature and design a flow sheet that reflected the state of knowledge at that time. Drs JE Boone and IR McWhinney, chairs of the Departments of Paediatrics and Family Medicine, respectively, at The University of Western Ontario, provided guidance and expertise. The result was an article entitled, “Well baby visits: Screening and health promotion”, published in Canadian Family Physician in 1985 (1).
Since then, the Rourke Baby Record has been revised several times. Its use has spread widely throughout Canada. McNeil Consumer Products Company, who distribute the records free of charge, report that in the last year alone more than 1000 doctors or clinics have requested copies.
We are most excited about the record’s latest developmental milestone, a collaborative effort with L Panagiotou RN BScN, and Drs J Wakefield and D Winfield of McMaster University, incorporating current evidence-based medicine. The record is now called, Rourke Baby Record: Evidence Based Infant/Child Health Maintenance Guide, or Rourke Baby Record: EB, for short. The authors appreciate the assistance of Dr Danielle Grenier, Medical Affairs Officer of the Canadian Paediatric Society, who reviewed the record and manuscript, which were originally published in Canadian Family Physician in March 1998 (2,3). In the two-part article, part 1 presents an overview of the record, while part 2 discusses in detail the evidence for manoeuvres included in the education and advice section of the record.
As one of the family physician members of the Joint Action Committee on Child and Adolescent Health of the College of Family Physicians and the Canadian Paediatric Society, I strongly feel that family physicians and paediatricians can build partnerships to become better health care providers and advocates for children in Canada. We look forward to collaborating with both the College of Family Physicians and the Canadian Paediatric Society on the future developmental milestones of the Rourke Baby Record.