Objective: In California, less than one-third of young children receive routine developmental screening despite policies in place for universal developmental screening. Developmental screening is crucial in identifying delays to diagnose developmental disorders that could benefit greatly from early intervention. Unfortunately, many providers do not have a standardized, effective approach to screen for developmental delays. There are numerous resources available for children with developmental concerns but there is disconnect between those resources, patients and medical providers. This project aims to identify the needs and capacities of L.A. Care providers to improve developmental screening implementation and early intervention. Standardized developmental screenings can lead to early diagnosis and treatment of developmental disorders and give children the possibility to maximize their physical, cognitive, and socioemotional capacities.
Methods: Site visits were conducted to observe medical practices and analyze workflow. Health professionals in these clinics were interviewed regarding developmental screening and surveillance efforts. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) surveillance and screening algorithm was used to determine places in the screening process where limitations and barriers exist. The qualitative data from clinic observations and interviews was summarized.
Results: Data suggests clinics have multiple challenges in implementing the AAP algorithm as a strategy for developmental screenings. Challenges include time constraints, inconsistent referral processes, lack of resources, and deficits in the Electronic Medical Record (EMR).
Conclusions: The results from this study provide insight as to which areas of healthcare can be targeted to improve developmental screenings and interventions. This study can be expanded to propose effective pilot strategies and influence policy change in the L.A. Care Network in order to overcome common barriers in implementing standardized early developmental screenings.