Outpatient EHR-based tool facilitates follow-up, safety

Whether patients required follow-up for statins, abdominal aortic aneurysm screening or one of 22 other care gaps, Kaiser Permanente unveiled electronic tools for catching outpatient problems early, as described in an article published June 26 in eGEMs.

EHRs and clinical surveillance are the backbone of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Outpatient Safety Net Program. Leveraging EHRs, the KPSC Outpatient Safety Net Program scans data available and provides clinicians with prompts to remind patients that care is needed.

If that provider is part of their network, this can mean that a patient receives a reminder for follow-up about their abdominal aortic aneurysm while at the ophthalmologist, for instance. Another tool screens for patient contraindications based on statin use.

With most patient care occurring in an outpatient setting, the KPSC Outpatient Safety Net Program was created to proactively assist providers in avoiding known gaps and pitfalls and using the same roll-out method, quickly create new tools as opportunities arise.

"The Southern California Outpatient Safety Net program is different from other patient safety programs that are dedicated to inpatient or hospital care because it scans in the background for anything that was missed,” Michael H. Kanter, MD, regional medical director of Quality and Clinical Analysis with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group and a study author, said in a press release. “As other healthcare delivery systems develop and implement similar tools, information sharing of these methods across organizations may help contribute to improvements in outpatient safety more broadly."

The KPSC group stated that the Outpatient Safety Net Program can be applied to any healthcare organization, even if it does not run an EHR system, provided certain key data are digitized.

eGEMs stands for Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes.