Physicians more likely to prescribe preventive therapy after EHR notification, study finds

An EHR extension that determines when a patient may benefit from preventive therapy may be more effective than prescribing based solely on education, according to a study published in March in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania Health System researchers analyzed interventions that used both education and an electronic "dashboard" system integrated with patients' EHRs to determine whether cardiac patients would benefit from acid suppression therapy, which reduces risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. The electronic system pulls information from patients’ EHRs to alert physicians when an individual would likely benefit from the therapy.

Researchers found that adding the dashboard technology to EHRs resulted in an 18 percent increase in necessary medication orders. Additionally, results showed education on acid suppression therapy did not present a noticeable effect on prescribing rates.

From September 2016 to January 2017, prior to implementing the EHR-linked dashboard, prescription rates for Penn Medicine Cardiac Intensive Care Unit patients needing acid suppression therapy were 73 percent. After the dashboard's installation, prescription rates for CICU patients from January 2017 to September 2017 spiked to 86 percent.

"This study shows that education alone is typically not a sufficient method for changing the behavior of providers and care teams," Penn Medicine CIO and lead study senior author Shivan Mehta, MD, said in a news release. "We demonstrated that although clinical leaders should collaborate to identify best practices, care redesign, technology and behavior change strategies are also needed."

More articles on EHRs:
5 notes about CMS' interoperability program in 2019
New HHS rules will give 125 million patients easier access to EHRs, Senate health chair says
Young patients less concerned about unauthorized access to their EHRs, survey finds

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