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Original Investigation
Health Care Reform
Sep 26, 2011

Electronic Medical Record Reminders and Panel Management to Improve Primary Care of Elderly Patients

Author Affiliations

Authors Affiliations: Departments of General Medicine (Drs Loo, Davis, Bates, and Hamel) and Gerontology (Dr Lipsitz), Center for Education (Dr Irish), and Clinical Information Systems (Dr Markson), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts; and Department of Gerontology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas (Dr Agarwal).

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(17):1552-1558. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.394
Abstract

Background Most elderly patients do not receive recommended preventive care, acute care, and care for chronic conditions.

Methods We conducted a controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of electronic medical record (EMR) reminders, with or without panel management, on health care proxy designation, osteoporosis screening, and influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations in patients older than 65 years. Physicians were assigned to 1 of the following 3 arms: EMR reminder, EMR reminder plus panel manager, or control. We assessed completion of recommended practices during a 1-year period.

Results Among patients who had not already received the recommended care, health care proxy was designated in 6.5% of patients in the control arm, 8.8% of the EMR reminder arm, and 19.7% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P = .002). Bone density screening was completed in 17.7% of patients in the control arm, 19.7% of the EMR reminder arm, and 30.5% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P = .02). Pneumococcal vaccine was given to 13.1% of patients in the control arm, 19.5% of the EMR reminder arm, and 25.6% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P = .02). Influenza vaccine was given to 46.8% of patients in the control arm, 56.5% of the EMR reminder arm, and 59.7% of the EMR reminder plus panel manager arm (P = .002). Results were similar when adjusted for individual physician performance in the preceding year, patient age, patient sex, years cared for by the practice, and number of visits.

Conclusions Electronic medical record reminders alone facilitated improvement in vaccination rates and, when augmented by panel management, facilitated further improvement in vaccination rates and boosted the rates of health care proxy designation and bone density screening.

Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01313169

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