Autism: Timely Access to Behavioral Intervention Decreases Overall Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Melanie Penner, MD FRCP (C) Clinician investigator and developmental pediatrician Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Dr. Melanie Penner

Dr. Melanie Penner, MD FRCP (C)
Clinician investigator and developmental pediatrician
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Studies have shown that accessing intensive behavioral intervention (IBI) services at younger ages is associated with improved outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In Ontario, Canada, children wait years to access publicly-funded IBI. This analysis estimated costs and projected adult independence for three IBI wait time scenarios: the current wait time, a wait time reduced by half, and an eliminated wait time. The model inputs came from published literature.

The main findings showed that eliminating the wait time generated the most independence and cost the least amount of money to both the government and society. With no wait time for intensive behavioral intervention, the government would save $53,000 (2015 Canadian dollars per person) with autism spectrum disorder over their lifetime, and society would save $267,000 (2015 Canadian dollars).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Investing in timely access to IBI improves outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families. These benefits are shared by governments and society, showing that all of society benefits when people with ASD and their families do well.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research must evaluate strategies to improve access to autism services. Wait times for ASD diagnosis also delay access to IBI and other autism spectrum disorder interventions, and further research is needed on strategies to improve access to accurate diagnosis.

Research on adult outcomes in ASD is limited at this time, and more needs to be done to identify the factors that predict good adult outcomes.

These factors should also be considered in the design of autism spectrum disorder interventions, such as IBI programs.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Piccininni C, Bisnaire L, Penner M. Cost-effectiveness of Wait Time Reduction for Intensive Behavioral Intervention Services in Ontario, Canada. JAMA Pediatr. Published online November 14, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.2695

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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