San Francisco Hospital Uses AHRQ's ePSS to Promote Recommended Preventive Care Services

Prevention and Care Management
November 2008

AHRQ's Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) is being used by primary care physicians and nurse practitioners at San Francisco General Hospital to provide evidence-based support to primary care providers on recommended preventive health services.

The ePSS is designed to provide timely decision support for clinicians regarding appropriate screening, counseling, and preventive services for their patients. It is based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations and can be searched by specific patient characteristics, such as age, sex, and selected behavioral risk factors.

The ePSS tool was first implemented at San Francisco General Hospital in 2008. According to Alice Chen, MD, MPH, Medical Director of the Adult Medical Center at San Francisco General Hospital, "My colleagues and I like the system because [the Task Force] has a rigorous, evidence-based process in place. By implementing the tool, the hospital no longer needs to devote resources to continually updating our internal recommendations. The [ePSS] link was easily added to the hospital's existing electronic medical record system, and can be found in each patient's health maintenance screen."

The fact that the ePSS tool is evidence-based and that it is automatically updated as new recommendations are released from the Task Force is important to the hospital. "Providers who have a question regarding what screening tests should be offered for a given patient can quickly access the tool for guidance. It improves patient care by standardizing the care we provide," adds Chen.

And while there are no implications for patient safety per se, Chen reports, "Avoidance of unindicated testing or treatments is likely to result in fewer incidental findings that may cause harm if pursued."

Physicians at San Francisco General Hospital are University of California San Francisco faculty (UCSF). Approximately 2,000 UCSF physicians, specialty nurses, health care professionals, and other professionals work with 3,500 city employees at the hospital.

The ePSS can be downloaded to a PDA or used on the Web. The tool can be found at:

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
Topics(s): Prevention
Geographic Location: California
Implementer: San Francisco General Hospital
Date: 11/01/2008
Page last reviewed October 2014