DC Catholic Charity Clinics Use Task Force Preventive Care Guidelines to Educate Patients

Prevention and Care Management
September 2011

The Spanish Catholic Center of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, is using the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations in its two medical clinics. The Center developed a comprehensive preventive health screening flowchart that features key USPSTF and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, including risk factors and screening tools. Clinicians have also received training so they may access additional information as necessary on both handheld devices and computers using AHRQ's electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS).

Marguerite Duane, MD, Medical Director at the Center, says that she decided to participate in AHRQ's ePSS Knowledge Transfer project as a way "to get more clinicians engaged in preventive services."

The ePSS tool 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.

Duane says, "We use the USPSTF recommendations to educate patients about their health." She believes the recommendations are an excellent tool to guide clinicians and that clinicians must consider the patient, their risk factors, and their concerns when implementing recommendations.

Spanish Catholic Center's patients are primarily uninsured and often come to the clinic only when they are sick. The Center stresses with its providers the importance of addressing preventive services using ePSS when patients come for a visit.

James Duffy, SJ, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, mentors medical students and residents at the Center. He accesses the USPSTF recommendations on his smart phone when he believes a patient needs more screening than the flowchart suggests.

AHRQ provided technical assistance to Spanish Catholic Center to incorporate the ePSS tool into its eClinicalWorks electronic health record (EHR) product. AHRQ has worked with more than a dozen such primary care provider groups across the United States in the following ways:

  • Assisting providers in implementing the ePSS widget into their EHR.
  • Assisting providers in implementing the ePSS recommendations into their EHR's clinical decision-support system.
  • Working with EHR vendors to ensure appropriate support during the technical implementation process.
  • Providing support in using the USPSTF recommendations.

AHRQ's 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. The tool can be found at http://www.epss.ahrq.gov.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS), U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
Topics(s): Prevention
Geographic Location: District of Columbia, Maryland
Implementer: Spanish Catholic Center
Date: 09/01/2011
Page last reviewed October 2014