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Arch Fam Med. 1994 Jul;3(7):581-8.

Computer-based vs manual health maintenance tracking. A controlled trial.

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  • 1Tri-County Family Medicine, Dansville, NY.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare computer-based with manual health maintenance tracking systems to determine whether (1) a computer-based system will result in better provider compliance with the practice health maintenance protocol, (2) the incremental cost of operating a computer-based vs a manual health maintenance tracking system differs, and (3) inactive patients will respond to health maintenance reminders.

DESIGN:

Two-year prospective, randomized, controlled trial.

SETTING:

Rural, multiple-office, nonprofit, fee-for-service family practice.

PATIENTS:

Adult members of families in which at least one member had been seen by the practice within the past 2 years.

INTERVENTION:

A computer-based health maintenance tracking system that generated annual provider and patient reminders for all patients regardless of appointment status compared with a manual flowchart-based tracking system in which patient reminders were triggered by provider request.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Provider compliance with the health maintenance protocol determined by preintervention and postintervention chart audits, costs of computer-based tracking, and response of inactive patients to health maintenance reminders.

RESULTS:

Overall provider compliance with the health maintenance protocol increased 15 percentage points in the computer-based tracking group and four percentage points in the manual group. The computer-based tracking group had significantly higher provider compliance than the manual group for eight of 11 procedures. The computer-based tracking system cost 78 cents per patient per year to operate. It was not associated with increased office visits or patient billings.

CONCLUSIONS:

Computer-based health maintenance tracking improved provider health maintenance compliance compared with a manual system. The finding that health maintenance compliance improved without a significant increase in patient visits or billings requires confirmation in other settings but suggests that considerable health maintenance can be incorporated into ongoing patient care.

PMID:
7921293
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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