EHR-based screening program for AAA cuts the number of at-risk men by more than half

February 10, 2014

A screening program for abdominal aortic aneurysms, integrated into an electronic health record, dramatically reduced the number of unscreened at-risk men by more than 50 percent within 15 months, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the Journal of Vascular Surgery. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, which – if ruptured – can result in death. It is estimated that more than one million Americans are living with undiagnosed AAA, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery.

Since 2005, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Heart Association have recommended screening in men aged 65 to 75 years with any history of smoking. Researchers examined the EHRs of 68,164 men who met these initial screening criteria. The researchers created an alert in the EHR to signal the providers that the patient should be screened for AAA, and then followed these men from March 2012 to June 2013. The alerts led to a system-wide reduction of unscreened patients from 51.74 percent to 20.26 percent.

"Because abdominal aortic aneurysms are generally asymptomatic before they burst, most of the patients who have a rupture didn't even know that they had an aneurysm," said Robert J. Hye, MD, study lead author and chief of , Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center. "That makes screening for AAA all the more vital and important."

More than 50 percent of ruptured AAAs result in death, according to the American Heart Association. Approximately 10,000 Americans die as a result of a ruptured of AAA each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Because of the distinctive nature of Kaiser Permanente's health care system with its integrated network of practitioners and physicians, it is uniquely suited to perform these types of preventive health measures like aneurysm screening, , and others," said Dr. Hye. "This type of program would be very hard to implement in a non-integrated system because their practitioners don't have universal EHRs to help them monitor their patients."

Kaiser Permanente has published numerous studies about the benefits of Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, the EHR it launched in 2004. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association in October 2013 found that using EHRs to automate reporting of quality measures reduces reporting time required for one measure set alone by about 50 percent. Another study also published that month in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the use of EHRs in clinical settings was associated with a decrease in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for patients with diabetes.

Securely connecting 9.1 million people, 618 medical offices, and 38 hospitals, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect is the largest and most advanced non-governmental electronic health record in the world. KP HealthConnect links patients with their health care teams, their personal health information and the latest medical knowledge. It also connects Kaiser Permanente's researchers to one of the most extensive collections of longitudinal medical data available, facilitating studies and important medical discoveries that shape the future of and care delivery for patients and the medical community.

Explore further: Electronic health records linked to improved care for patients with diabetes

Related Stories

Electronic health records linked to improved care for patients with diabetes

September 10, 2013
The use of electronic health records in clinical settings was associated with a decrease in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for patients with diabetes, according to a study published today in the Journal of the ...

Overweight and obese children face high risk of hypertension

October 10, 2013
High body weight in children and adolescents is strongly associated with the likelihood of hypertension, according to a Kaiser Permanente Southern California study published today in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

Tracking exercise as vital sign associated with weight loss and better glucose control for patients

December 5, 2013
Asking patients about their exercise habits was associated with weight loss in overweight patients and improved glucose control for patients with diabetes, according to a recently published study in the Journal of General ...

Personal health record associated with improved medication adherence

January 6, 2014
Patients with diabetes who used an online patient portal to refill medications increased their medication adherence and improved their cholesterol levels, according to a new study in the journal Medical Care.

Children with elevated blood pressure don't get recommended follow-up, few at risk for hypertension

August 1, 2013
Children who have a first elevated blood pressure at the doctor's office are not likely to receive the recommended follow-up blood pressure readings within a month, according to a study published today in Pediatrics. However, ...

Patients with diabetes who use mail order pharmacy are less likely to visit ER's

November 22, 2013
Patients with diabetes who received prescribed heart medications by mail were less likely to visit the emergency room than those patients who picked up prescriptions in person, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published ...

Recommended for you

World's first child hand transplant a 'success'

July 19, 2017
The first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant is now able to write, feed and dress himself, doctors said Tuesday, declaring the ground-breaking operation a success after 18 months.

Knee surgery—have we been doing it wrong?

July 18, 2017
A team of University at Buffalo medical doctors have published a study that challenges a surgical practice used for decades during arthroscopic knee surgery.

New tools help surgeons find liver tumors, not nick blood vessels

July 17, 2017
The liver is a particularly squishy, slippery organ, prone to shifting both deadly tumors and life-preserving blood vessels by inches between the time they're discovered on a CT scan and when the patient is lying on an operating ...

Researchers discover indicator of lung transplant rejection

July 13, 2017
Research by scientists at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center's Norton Thoracic Institute was published in the July 12, 2017 issue of Science Translational Medicine titled "Zbtb7a induction in alveolar ...

New device could make closing surgical incisions a cinch

July 7, 2017
Like many surgeons, Dr. Jason Spector is often faced with the challenge of securely closing the abdominal wall without injuring the intestines. If the process goes awry, there can be serious consequences for patients, including ...

Success with first 20 patients undergoing minimally invasive pancreatic transplant surgery

June 29, 2017
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medicine report that their first series of a minimally invasive procedure to treat chronic pancreas disease, known as severe pancreatitis, resulted in shorter hospital stays, less need for opioids ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.