Increasing Access to Autism-Specific Care in Primary Care: Diagnosis and Access to Treatment

Institution: University of Washington

The study investigates the influence of the ECHO Autism Washington program on the ability of primary care providers (PCPs) to diagnose and recommend services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Washington State.

A cross-sectional survey was distributed to PCPs who participated in the ECHO program to assess the outcomes of care recommendations for 51 pediatric patients with ASD. The study also compares the diagnostic and care access experiences of caregivers whose children were diagnosed by ECHO PCPs with those diagnosed at a specialty ASD clinic in Seattle.

The research is ongoing, with surveys being sent to ECHO PCPs and caregivers to gather data on the effectiveness of the ECHO program in enhancing PCP capacity for ASD care.

This study aims to provide insight into whether telementoring programs like ECHO can improve autism-specific care in primary settings and how this compares to specialist-provided care.

Project Mentors and Contributors

Career Mentor: Gary Stobbe, MD

Project Advisor: Jennifer Gerdts, PhD

Co-investigators / Consultation Team: John Lemus (self-advocate, ECHO Autism WA hub team member); Shayla Collins (parent advocate, ECHO Autism WA hub team member); Jennifer Mannheim (Seattle Children’s Autism Center ARNP, ECHO hub team member); Diane Liebe (MD, former ECHO Autism WA participant).