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Health Informatics J. 2009 Dec;15(4):296-304. doi: 10.1177/1460458209345900.

Development, implementation and evaluation of an electronic medical record prompt for bone density testing.

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HealthPartners Research Foundation, Minneapolis, MN 55440-1524, USA.


The purpose of this study was to assess whether an electronic prompt promoting BMD testing affected the proportion of patients who received BMD and/or bone health medication. Rheumatology providers of patients 40+, on prednisone, with no record of BMD testing in the past 2 years, were targeted with the message: 'This patient is at risk for osteoporosis due to prednisone use. We have no record of a recent Dexa scan.' We also surveyed providers on the prompt's value. The use of prednisone remained stable; BMD testing was quite low in all periods but increased slightly (non-statistically) over time, as did bone health medication use. Providers found the prompt not tailored enough to be clinically meaningful. Electronic prompts seem beneficial in theory; however, putting them into practice has challenges. While the EMR has great potential to improve care, more needs to be done to ensure optimal use.

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