East Tennessee State Uses AHRQ's ePSS to Educate Clinicians About Preventive Care Guidelines

Prevention and Care Management
April 2010

East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine Library is downloading AHRQ's Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) to the personal digital assistants (PDAs) of third- and fourth-year medical students, medical residents, nurse practitioners, pharmacy students, and rural hospital providers. The goal is to give these clinicians evidence-based, point-of-care support for recommended clinical 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 recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and can be searched by specific patient characteristics, such as age, sex, and selected behavioral risk factors.

Rick Wallace, Assistant Director at the Quillen College of Medicine Library, says, "We find that the ePSS really fills a gap that other available resources do not. We've had positive feedback about the tool; it gave users an edge in solving a specific problem. There's nothing else that covers screening recommendations like this product."

The school's medical library staff has downloaded the ePSS onto hundreds of residents' and clinicians' PDAs in the librarians' role of providing library, research, and PDA support to nine residency programs for about 240 residents, another 240 medical students, and a nurse practitioner program. The staff also gives instructions on how to use the AHRQ product.

Wallace, who has been with the library team since 1995, says the library promotes the use of PDAs and tools such as the AHRQ ePSS. "Having information at the point of care makes it that much more useful," he says.

Additionally, the library has received grants to provide services and PDA support to rural and underserved hospitals, so Wallace's staff gives those providers the ePSS tool too.

Wallace says, "We're always interested in tools like the ePSS to help residents and clinicians do their job better. With screening processes, guidelines are always changing. Unless they are using an electronic health record that triggers recommended screenings, asking health care providers to remember too much is always a risk. With this tool, they can input patient data quickly, and it scans all the recommendations that might apply."

The AHRQ ePSS, updated as new recommendations are released, can be downloaded to a PDA or used on the Web. The tool can be found at: http://epss.ahrq.gov/PDA/index.jsp. More information on both the print and Web versions is at: http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/guidelines-recommendations/guide/index.html.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS)
Topics(s): Prevention
Geographic Location: Tennessee
Implementer: East Tennessee State University Medical Library
Date: 04/01/2010
Page last reviewed October 2014