Montana Clinic Uses AHRQ ePSS to Promote Awareness of Preventive Care
Anaconda Internal Medicine, a rural primary care clinic in Montana, is incorporating AHRQ's electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) as a tool to teach students enrolled in clinical rotations about the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations.
William M. Reiter, MD, FACP, a preceptor for the University of Washington Medical School and a physician at Anaconda Internal Medicine, learned about ePSS from an AHRQ Knowledge Transfer project, "Outreach to Health Professional Institutions." He wanted to incorporate ePSS into his curriculum so students would learn how easy it is to use to identify appropriate preventive care recommendations.
The ePSS tool is designed to provide real-time decision support for clinicians regarding appropriate screening, counseling, and preventive services for 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.
Reiter has been teaching health profession students how to access the USPSTF recommendations online since 2006. He has a long-standing interest in the application of health information technology to patient safety and quality improvement. His experience with various campaigns to improve preventive care and get health care organizations "wired" made this project interesting and relevant to him.
In addition, Reiter is incorporating the USPSTF recommendations into his office-based information technology system, DocSite, an enhanced electronic registry and clinical decision support system. DocSite is helping Reiter install the ePSS widget application into the system.
Reiter's view on the value of ePSS highlights the importance of making the USPSTF recommendations as widely available as possible. He says, "The online availability of the recommendations has helped us to achieve considerable success in increasing our use of preventive care interventions across our practice population. The percentages of our patients receiving indicated preventive services are now higher than [others] reported statewide through HEDIS surveys. There is no better or more satisfying way for a physician to improve quality of care, while dramatically reducing the cost of health care over a person's lifetime."
AHRQ provided technical assistance on incorporating USPSTF recommendations to schools with health profession curriculums. The project identified more than a dozen schools across the United States teaching USPSTF recommendations to the next generation of physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.
Anaconda Internal Medicine is a rotation site for students from the University of Washington. It is part of a graduate health profession education program for students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. The clinic itself provides care to nearly 10,000 residents.