AHRQ ePSS Alerts Florida Clinicians of Preventive Care Services
Watson Clinic, a large multispecialty clinic in central Florida, participated in AHRQ's electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) Knowledge Transfer project to improve its care processes by integrating the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations into its patient workflow. The clinic uses the NextGen electronic health record (EHR) system to access the recommendations.
Guillermo Vasquez, MD, Watson Clinic physician and board member, says, "The ePSS makes the USPSTF recommendations easily transferrable into everyday use." Approximately 70 percent of Watson Clinic's primary care physicians are using ePSS in the EHR. These physicians see 20 to 25 patients a day and find ePSS to be "very accessible and easy to document into care processes"—factors considered vital for integration into the clinic's workflow.
The ePSS is designed to provide real-time decision support for clinicians regarding appropriate screening, counseling, and preventive services for their patients. It is based on the recommendations of the USPSTF and can be searched by specific patient characteristics, such as age, sex, and selected behavioral risk factors.
Through its participation in the ePSS project, Watson Clinic is using two strategies to increase the use of ePSS by its physicians. First, the clinic uses its quality committee and quarterly primary care meetings as opportunities to communicate and disseminate information about the USPSTF recommendations.
Second, the clinic is initiating a medical home pilot program that will enable physicians to extract and review data from the NextGen EHR and to develop strategies for improving care. The clinic will integrate the ePSS tool into the medical home model by using the USPSTF recommendations to measure the effectiveness of its care coordination efforts.
Gayle Mulville, Watson's Director of Clinical Informatics, says, "Watson Clinic is looking at ePSS from a quality improvement standpoint. We will build on these efforts to improve quality."
AHRQ provided technical assistance to Watson Clinic to implement ePSS. AHRQ has also worked with more than a dozen primary care provider groups across the United States in the following ways:
- Assisting providers in implementing the ePSS widget into their EHRs.
- Assisting providers in implementing ePSS recommendations into their EHRs' clinical decision-support systems.
- Working with EHR vendors to ensure appropriate support during the technical implementation process.
- Providing support in using the USPSTF recommendations.
The ePSS, which is updated as new recommendations are released, can be downloaded to a PDA, accessed on the Web, or installed on any Web site as a widget. More information on both the PDA and Web versions is available at http://epss.ahrq.gov/PDA/index.jsp.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, 2010-2011. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; September 2010. http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/pocketgd.htm
Electronic Preventive Services Selector. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://epss.ahrq.gov/PDA/index.jsp