An alert in the electronic health record can increase the number of at-risk men who have been screened for a deadly aneurysm, a recent study found.
The study, from the Oakland-based integrated provider, Kaiser Permanente, looked at what happens when a screening program for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), which is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, which can result in death if ruptured, is integrated into the EHR. Researchers at Kaiser 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.
Approximately 10,000 Americans die as a result of a ruptured of AAA each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, researchers it is hard to track before it happens.
"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," Robert J. Hye, MD, study lead author and chief of vascular surgery at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, said in a statement. "That makes screening for AAA all the more vital and important."
The study was published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.