Bright Futures in PCC

Bright Futures is a national health promotion and prevention initiative led by the American Academy of Pediatrics. (

PCC provides Bright Futures chart note protocols, periodicity schedules, handouts, and more to all PCC practices. For example, your default installation of PCC EHR includes sample Bright Futures visit chart note templates that your practice can customize or adjust to your visit workflow.

Read below to find out more about Bright Futures and see where you can use Bright Futures guidelines in PCC’s software and services.

What is Bright Futures, Anyway?

Bright Futures is a set of guidelines and recommendations for pediatric well visits. It includes “theory-based and evidence-driven guidance for all preventive care screenings and well-child visits.” (

Bright Futures provides that guidance in the form of a periodicity schedule, educational materials, and other content that can be used to craft chart notes and pediatric practice workflows.

To learn more, visit the AAP’s Bright Futures website.

Bright Futures Visit Protocols

PCC EHR includes a complete set of chart note protocols based on Bright Futures recommendations. You can use these protocols to guide your visit workflow and chart visits. You can customize them and add and remove components to make them work for your practice.

If you are a new PCC client, you’ll see the latest Bright Futures-based chart note protocols in the Protocol Configuration tool.

If you joined PCC before 2018’s rollout of the new Bright Future’s charting recommendations, you may see protocols based on Bright Futures 3rd edition. You can contact PCC Support for help importing and configuring the latest protocols.

Are Bright Futures Protocols Too Long and Detailed to Use?

Some clinicians dislike the Bright Futures recommendations because they include too many sections and could lead to a well visit that takes too long to complete.

The developers of Bright Futures agree. Their recommendation: Use what the patient needs, and skip the rest.

Not every visit will require every screening or issue included on a Bright Futures well visit chart note template. A 15-second question about depression, for example, may or may not lead to a 15-minute depression screening. However, a big protocol is a powerful protocol. You can use what the patient needs, and skip the rest.

Bright Futures Handouts in PCC EHR’s Patient Education Tool

Bright Futures handouts, questionnaires, and other materials published by the AAP are available inside PCC EHR and also available by website login to all PCC Customers.

When you are working with a patient, you can open the Patient Education tool, pick a diagnosis, and the AAP portal window will display the appropriate handouts.

For more information, read: Patient Education and Handouts

Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule

The Bright Futures guidelines include recommendations for how often patients should be seen at each stage of development and what screenings and tests should be considered during each well visit. PCC provides recommendations and software tools to help you implement this schedule.

  • Review the AAP's Periodicity Schedule: You can review the AAP’s Bright Futures recommendations for each well visit here: The AAP Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule. It’s a great summary of the AAPs recommendations for preventative pediatric health care.

  • AAP's Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule is Included in PCC EHR: PCC’s Bright Futures chart note protocols include all screenings and other recommendations for each well visit.

  • How Do I Code and Bill for Procedures on the Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule?: PCC’s certified coder, Jan Blanchard, created a version of the periodicity schedule that displays billable codes for screenings and other procedures performed at each well visit. You can read it here: Coding for Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule

How can you best configure PCC EHR to implement this periodicity schedule for your practice? By setting up visit reasons for your schedule, using Bright Futures protocols or adding appropriate screenings to your visit protocols, and implementing workflow methods at your practice. Contact PCC Support for help.

Bright Futures 4th Edition

In 2017-2018, the AAP updated Bright Futures materials and recommendations to the 4th edition. Here are a few highlights of 4th edition changes:

  • Chart Note Templates: Bright Futures 4th Edition updated the AAP’s recommendations for well visits. PCC reviewed these updates and created new Bright Futures 4th Edition protocols. You can work with PCC Support and follow these instructions to install them on your system.

  • Questions and Guidelines: Bright Futures 4th Edition places an increased focus on the social determinants of health.

  • Periodicity Schedule: The AAP’s recommended visit periodicity schedule shifted slightly with Bright Futures 4th Edition. You can see the latest, up-to-date schedule here: AAP Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule Wonder what changes were made for Bright Futures 4th edition? Read the AAP’s notes about the changes.

  • Handouts: Bright Futures handouts, which are created for well visits and related issues for each age and sex, were also updated in Bright Futures 4th Edition. In PCC, you can access these materials with the Patient Education tool. You can print the materials, save them to a patient’s chart, or send them to patients and families with PCC’s Patient Portal.

For more information, visit Bright Futures.

  • Last modified: August 31, 2022