Developmental Screening and Referrals: Assessing the Influence of Provider Specialty, Training, and Interagency Communication

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Previous studies have shown that different provider approaches, amount of familiarity with the referral and screening process, and level of interagency communication can increase or decrease the likelihood of caregivers completing a recommended referral to early intervention (EI). We surveyed 60 family practitioners and pediatricians at 2 primary care clinics to assess these factors. Pediatricians were more likely than family practitioners to report using, evaluating, and discussing the results of developmental screens. Providers with more experience and recent training expressed more confidence in their ability to describe the EI system to families. Most providers expressed a lack of confidence in their own agency to complete referrals or EI to provide follow-up. The knowledge gaps and communication problems identified in this study could serve as a basis for future interventional work.

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