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Using a Telephone Based Developmental Delay Screening to Increase Access to Referrals

7 August 2020


Background: Despite the AAP’s multiple policies and statements regarding the need to screen children early for developmental delays and get them started with intervention services there is very inconsistent use of validated tools. Families in vulnerable psychosocial circumstances also have increased barriers to screenings, referral follow up, and access to intervention services. The 211 service already provides 24/7 human and social services across the country, and could potentially be used to increase access to referrals.

Methods: Exhaustive search of available medical literature was performed using PubMED, CINAHL, Web of Science and Trip. Studies were critically appraised using JAMA evidence worksheets.

Results: The search produced 24 results, with 2 relevant articles. Specifically, one randomized controlled trial, and one proof of concept study.

Conclusion: Care coordinators from the 211 service were able to successfully link nearly 50% of new referrals for children that screened positive for a developmental delay compared to only 10% of those referred by primary care providers. The 211 model not only increased the odds of children ultimately receiving services they needed, also significantly increased odds of children being screened with validated tools and thus being eligible for intervention services compared to the usual standard of care.


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26 Aug 2020
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