Making Developmental Screening Routine in Pediatric Practice

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<p>Despite the well-documented benefits of developmental and behavioral screening, only 30 percent of American children who need services are identified by the time they start school. But in North Carolina, the proportion of children screened for developmental problems has been steadily increasing.<br><br>According to a <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=22940&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D381569%26%23doc381569">new article</a> published this week in <em>Pediatrics,</em> North Carolina's improvement is a result of a comprehensive system designed to significantly increase screening rates. One of the features of the system--implemented in 2000 with support from The Commonwealth Fund's Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) program--is a requirement that all pediatric providers screen children for developmental disorders at periodic visits using a standardized instrument.<br><br>Authors Marian F. Earls, M.D., of Guilford Child Health and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Sherry Shackelford Hay, M.P.A., of the North Carolina Office of Research, Demonstrations, and Rural Health Development, draw on the state's experience to offer strategies for integrating developmental screening into pediatric practices. Some of the key steps they discuss are identifying a physician champion; selecting an appropriate screening tool; and training nurses and office staff.</p>