Objective: 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.