Author(s): Golnik A, Ireland M, Borowsky IW
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Primary care physicians can enhance the health and quality of life of children with autism by providing high-quality and comprehensive primary care. OBJECTIVE: To explore physicians' perspectives on primary care for children with autism. METHODS: National mail and e-mail surveys were sent to a random sample of 2325 general pediatricians and 775 family physicians from April 2007 to October 2007. RESULTS: The response rate was 19\%. Physicians reported significantly lower overall self-perceived competency, a greater need for primary care improvement, and a greater desire for education for children with autism compared with both children with other neurodevelopmental conditions and those with chronic/complex medical conditions. The following barriers to providing primary care were endorsed as greater for children with autism: lack of care coordination, reimbursement and physician education, family skeptical of traditional medicine and vaccines, and patients using complementary alternative medicine. Adjusting for key demographic variables, predictors of both higher perceived autism competency and encouraging an empirically supported therapy, applied behavior analysis, included having a greater number of autism patient visits, having a friend or relative with autism, and previous training about autism. CONCLUSIONS: Primary care physicians report a lack of self-perceived competency, a desire for education, and a need for improvement in primary care for children with autism. Physician education is needed to improve primary care for children with autism. Practice parameters and models of care should address physician-reported barriers to care.
This article was published in Pediatrics
and referenced in Autism-Open Access