A new READi lab study was published in the journal of Academic Pediatrics! Together with Dr. Kyle Steinman of Seattle Children’s Hospital, we addressed some of the prominent barriers that hinder the screening process and early detection of autism risk in primary care settings. Those barriers were both logistical (e.g., time constraints) and knowledge-based (e.g., screening tool usage) in nature.
Forty-six primary care providers (PCPs) from 10 pediatric clinics throughout Washington State participated in our study which assessed their self-efficacy with aspects of the screening process and screening tool usage before and after a 2-hour training workshop on a web-based version on the M-CHAT-R/F (webM-CHAT-R/F). The webM-CHAT-R/F, which was developed using REDCap, is open-source, available in English and Spanish, and automates both the scoring process and presentation of prescribed follow-up questions. Additionally, the training workshop also covered the broader screening process and context, including how PCPs could approach discussing concerns/results with families and making referrals for additional services. Each of the clinics was provided tablets to facilitate the implementation of the webM-CHAT-R/F with families during their 18-month well-child visits.
From pre- to post-training, there were significant increases in PCPs’ self-reported self-efficacy, routine usage of the M-CHAT-R/F, and usage of the prescribed follow-up questions. Overall, 8 of the 10 practices were using the webM-CHAT-R/F routinely and screened over 650 patients at 18-month well-child visits in the 6 months following the training workshop.
These results suggest promising avenues for scalability and dissemination by combining a brief educational training on the screening process with access to an open-source, automated screener.
Interested in learning more? Access the full paper at this link!