Objectives: To assess changes in quality of care for children at risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) due to process improvement and implementation of a digital screening form.
Study design: The process of screening for ASD was studied in an academic primary care pediatrics clinic before and after implementation of a digital version of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - Revised with Follow-up with automated risk assessment. Quality metrics included accuracy of documentation of screening results and appropriate action for positive screens (secondary screening or referral). Participating physicians completed pre- and postintervention surveys to measure changes in attitudes toward feasibility and value of screening for ASD. Evidence of change was evaluated with statistical process control charts and χ2 tests.
Results: Accurate documentation in the electronic health record of screening results increased from 54% to 92% (38% increase, 95% CI 14%-64%) and appropriate action for children screening positive increased from 25% to 85% (60% increase, 95% CI 35%-85%). A total of 90% of participating physicians agreed that the transition to a digital screening form improved their clinical assessment of autism risk.
Conclusions: Implementation of a tablet-based digital version of the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - Revised with Follow-up led to improved quality of care for children at risk for ASD and increased acceptability of screening for ASD. Continued efforts towards improving the process of screening for ASD could facilitate rapid, early diagnosis of ASD and advance the accuracy of studies of the impact of screening.
Keywords: M-CHAT; early detection.
Published by Elsevier Inc.