In a video developed in partnership with the journal Contemporary Pediatrics, leading neurodevelopmental expert, Dr. Tom Megerian, underscores the urgent imperatives to address early traits of autism and developmental delay before they begin to manifest further as fully-fledged conditions that negatively impact patient lives.
Dr. Megerian, who is Clinical Director at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment and who heads up the Division of Neurodevelopmental Medicine at CHOC Children’s (Children’s Health of Orange County), lists the key actions that are needed to make earlier diagnoses:
- Early intervention is the single most important intervention for children at risk of developmental delay and autism
- Putting diagnosis in the hands of primary care providers with the help of mobile digital health and AI solutions, including Canvas Dx, will help with early diagnosis and intervention
- Healthcare payers have a responsibility to cover and reimburse diagnoses within primary care, as well as covering referrals for early interventions based on those diagnoses to speed access to life-changing therapies
“Starting as early as possible is the number one improvement we can make in society to help kids maximize whatever potential they have,” Megerian says. “I think putting diagnosis in the hands of primary care pediatricians and not having to have them refer to tertiary care centers for everybody is probably the number one thing we can do.”
“We need to address the insurance issues,” he continues. “[And make] sure that pediatricians are entitled and able to make a diagnosis and have payers cover both the diagnosis that pediatricians do and also approve referrals for therapies based on those diagnosis. We see a lot of pushback, where payers will tell a pediatrician, no, you need to send this child for a further evaluation, or you need to do one of these very specified tests to make a diagnosis.”
Cognoa extends many thanks to Dr Megerian and to Johsua Fitch, editor of Contemporary Pediatrics, for their advocacy and for weighing in on these important issues around autism and early diagnosis.