Engaging Pediatricians in Developmental Screening: The Effectiveness of Academic Detailing

Abstract

Use of formal developmental screening tools in the pediatric medical home improves early identification of children with developmental delays and disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. A pilot study evaluated the impact of an academic detailing module in which trainers visited 43 pediatric primary care practices to provide education about implementing developmental screening tools in well-child services. Attendees responded to a post presentation survey stating that they planned to implement screening in their practices. Medicaid billing data showed an increase in the state’s overall rate of screening. An audit of medical charts in five practices that received the training and five that did not showed higher screening rates in practices that received the training as well as higher rates after the training than before. These pilot study results indicate the potential of academic detailing as an effective strategy for improving rates of developmental screening.

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Acknowledgments

The Children’s Fund of Connecticut generously supported this study as well as the EPIC program. The authors thank staff from the Children’s Trust Fund and Child Development Infoline for visiting practices and making EPIC presentations as well as Anne Milanese at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for participating in the development of the EPIC ASD presentation. We are also indebted to John Lynch and Karen Pasquale of ProHealth Physicians for completing the chart audit portion of this study.

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Correspondence to Lisa Honigfeld.

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Honigfeld, L., Chandhok, L. & Spiegelman, K. Engaging Pediatricians in Developmental Screening: The Effectiveness of Academic Detailing. J Autism Dev Disord 42, 1175–1182 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1344-4

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Keywords

  • Developmental screening
  • Autism screening
  • Primary care
  • Physician education
  • Early detection of developmental disorders