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Improving Rates of Screening and Prevention by Leveraging Existing Information Systems

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Background: In 1997 Virginia Mason Health System (VMMC), a vertically integrated hospital and multispecialty group practice, had no process or system to deliver the right patient clinical data, in the right form, at the right place—when providers needed it for effective patient care. Without any new investment in technology, a work group of five individuals leveraged existing, primarily paper-based information systems to launch development and implementation of a provider prompting tool—a primary care and prevention (PCP) report—which prompted providers to complete screening, prevention, and disease management services at every patient appointment.

Planning and Implementing the Tool: The work group developed and pilot tested the report and created a mechanism by which the report could be delivered just in time before each patient's appointment. The report integrated information from independent appointment scheduling, laboratory results reporting, patient demographics, and billing data sources.

Measuring the PCP Report's Impact: The results of two separate analyses demonstrate improvement in rates of screening and prevention across VMMC soon after the PCP report became available. These results led senior leadership to make the PCP report's utilization a systemwide imperative.

Discussion: The PCP report is used by nearly all primary care providers as a prompt to complete screening, prevention, and disease management services at every patient appointment.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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