Improving assessment of child development: Results of a quality improvement intervention in general practice

Karyn E. Alexander, Danielle Mazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) is a validated tool used to assess child development that has not previously been tested in Australian general practice. We examined the effect of a Quality-Improvement intervention in a single general practice in Melbourne, Australia, that aimed to use this tool to improve the documented assessment of child developmental surveillance during vaccination visits. Methods: Mixed methods incorporated audits of clinical records of children aged 1–5 years, before and after intervention, written questionnaires and a focus group (informed by the theoretical domains framework and Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour (COM-B model)) with clinical and non-clinical staff. Results: After 6 months, developmental surveillance more than doubled and was documented in more than one in three visits (34.1%). Almost one in five (18.6%) vaccination visits included the PEDS tool. Overall, the tool was positively received with staff expressing high levels of comfort asking parents to complete it (92.8%), increasing development of professional skills (71.4% staff) and confidence (55% clinicians) detecting developmental delays. Thematic analysis of the focus group transcript revealed underlying barriers arising from the practice environment, staff capabilities and motivation. Conclusions: In a whole of practice Quality-Improvement intervention that applied PEDS training and implementation, including the receptionist in the medical team more than doubled documented rates of child developmental surveillance during vaccination visits. Solutions to underlying barriers could be incorporated into a revised training module. Future studies need to test the tool in more methodologically robust studies that include analysis of the outcomes of developmental surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1059
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • child
  • child development
  • developmental disabilities
  • general practice
  • parent
  • quality improvement

Cite this