Measuring the service system impact of a novel telediagnostic service program for young children with autism spectrum disorder

Autism. 2019 May;23(4):1051-1056. doi: 10.1177/1362361318787797. Epub 2018 Aug 16.


As prevalence of autism spectrum disorder continues to increase, so too does the need for timely, accessible diagnostic consultation. The present work extends from a previous study which provided preliminary evidence for the feasibility of expert clinicians to utilize telemedicine to triage autism spectrum disorder risk in young children. However, it did not examine whether a telediagnostic model had a demonstrable impact on tertiary care center referrals and usage. We therefore examined whether the introduction of telemedicine-based diagnostic consultation for families served by a rural medical facility affected referrals overall as well as to a metropolitan tertiary care diagnostic center. Results suggest that telemedicine diagnostic consultation in partnership with a referring early intervention system may positively impact referrals for diagnostic evaluation as well as the ability of families to schedule and attend appointments.

Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; diagnosis; screening; technology.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Rural Population
  • Telemedicine / organization & administration*
  • Tertiary Care Centers
  • Triage / organization & administration*