Developmental Screening Network


In March 2014, Help Me Grow Orange County was awarded a Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program providing funding to support a developmental screening network and registry to improve physician engagement and cross-sector collaboration, link electronic health records among Orange County service providers, and reach out to pediatricians to encourage them to regularly use developmental screening tools and refer children for treatment when needed.


The Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program is a collaborative effort between the American Academy of Pediatrics and Maternal Child Health Bureau that distributes grants to promote community planning and problem solving at the local level.




Annotation: Help Me Grow-Orange County (HMG-OC) proposes to improve the rate at which children who screen at risk for developmental delays when using a standardized developmental screening tool are connected to developmental services. In a recent Orange County study, physicians reported that they provide referrals to children with atypical screening results only 20% of the time. This project will establish mechanisms to proactively connect families to HMG-OC so they can obtain developmental services for their child, either through the use of automated referral systems from electronic health records, or provider participation in a Developmental Screening Registry. Coordination and communication among providers in the developmental services system will be improved through participation in the Developmental Screening Network. The project also will promote pediatrician participation in the HMG Maintenance of Certification to improve developmental screening rates and referrals.


Problem: Physicians have been slow to incorporate developmental screening of young children using standardized tools into their practices on a routine basis. Even those who do, report they often don’t make referrals when the child measures at risk or needing further assessment. The developmental service system needs to become more efficient through better coordination of services so it can serve all children with developmental problems.


Overall Project Goal: Improve care coordination and connection to developmental services for young children and their families by improving the developmental service system in Orange County and facilitating improved cross-sector collaboration among providers.




1) Establish a Developmental Screening Network to improve communication and collaboration among community and health care providers conducting developmental screening.
2) Implement linkages with Electronic Health Records between service providers and HMG-OC.
3) Develop and implement a Developmental Screening Registry that will improve data collection, reporting, and sharing of developmental screening results among primary health care providers and community-based providers.
4) Increase care coordination by sharing referral outcomes with primary health care providers.
5) Increase the number of children who are screened for developmental progress and receive appropriate follow-up by increasing physician engagement and improving developmental screening practices through outreach and education.


Methodology: HMG-OC will establish the Developmental Screening Network; work with medical clinics to proactively receive automated electronic referrals directly from the electronic health record; build out their STAR data system to include the Developmental Screening Registry; develop a feedback report so physicians can learn whether families were connected to developmental services; and engage with physicians to promote screening and follow-up.