Texas District Implements Prevention Protocol Based on USPSTF Recommendations
The Harris County Hospital District (HCHD) conducted a pilot program to create a new prevention protocol using the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and Put Prevention into Practice in three community health centers during its four-year grant from the Texas Department of Health. The results were so encouraging that HCHD elected to implement the prevention protocol in all 12 of its community health centers.
"The medical team saw the value of using the USPSTF recommendations and AHRQ's PPIP and was instrumental in ensuring that we took the same approach in all of our community health centers," says Debbie Boswell, HCHD's Manager of Community Outreach Services. "We really appreciate AHRQ for developing these initiatives, which have made an enormous difference with our clinicians' being able to provide streamlined, high quality prevention services to the community."
The program features a self-administered Adult Health History, including a modified version of AHRQ's Health Risk Profile, for all adults ages 18 and over. If patients are found to be at risk, further screening tests and immunizations are offered, along with patient education. Wall-mounted charts in the health centers display USPSTF recommendations, including risks, screening criteria, patient education pointers, and referral information.
Follow-up visits are determined by baseline information, and progress is measured by a Quality Management Team through monthly and yearly chart reviews. These reviews have consistently shown an increase in awareness and identification of risk factors, referrals, physical examinations, and counseling.
Harris County Hospital District is located in Houston, Texas. It is the fourth largest hospital district in the United States and includes 12 community health centers, as well as a school-based, mobile, and homeless program that reaches a multi-ethnic population of over 300,000 people.