A Study of Physician Knowledge and Experience with Autism in Adults in a Large Integrated Healthcare System
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We conducted an online survey of adult health care providers at Kaiser Permanente Northern California and semi-structured interviews with a subset of physicians. The survey assessed providers’ ability to recognize autism spectrum disorder (ASD), asked them to rate their autism knowledge, comfort level in treating affected patients, and evaluated training and resource needs. 922 providers completed the survey (response rate 25.3 %), and 9 were interviewed by telephone regarding their autism training and experiences caring for patients with autism. Most providers reported lacking skills and tools to care for this adult patient population. A high proportion of adult providers were not aware that they had patients with ASD. These findings underscore the need to educate physicians caring for adults with ASD.
KeywordsAdults Survey Autism spectrum disorder Healthcare providers Knowledge
The authors thank the members of the KPNC ASD in Adults Workgroup for their valuable insights and generous input regarding study design, data analysis, and interpretation of study results. No compensation was received for these contributions. The members include Lisa Croen, PhD, Stephen Rich, MD, Scott Rich, MA, Opal Thornton, MD, Clarissa Kripke, MD, Agnes Amistoso, MA, Elizabeth Dixon, LCSW, Chuck Trumble, MFT, Stephen Sidney, MD, Ousseny Zerbo, PhD, Maria Massolo, PhD, Carmen Ancinas-Gee, MFT and Neeraja Maramreddy, MD. The authors also appreciate the feedback received from Joe Gallo, MD, Meghan Davignon, MD, Thomas Weisner, PhD, and Britt Dalhberg, ABD.
Drs. Croen, Massolo and Zerbo conceptualized the study, obtained funding, and drafted the initial and final manuscript. Dr. Qian provided data management.
This study was funded by grants from the Special Hope Foundation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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