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Congenit Heart Dis. 2017 Jul;12(4):484-490. doi: 10.1111/chd.12469. Epub 2017 May 11.

The effect of an electronic health record-based tool on abnormal pediatric blood pressure recognition.

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Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Clinical Research Program, Boston Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Pediatrics, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.



Recognition of high blood pressure (BP) in children is poor, partly due to the need to compute age-sex-height referenced percentiles. This study examined the change in abnormal BP recognition before versus after the introduction of an electronic health record (EHR) app designed to calculate BP percentiles with a training lecture.


Clinical data were extracted on all ambulatory, non-urgent encounters for children 3-18 years old seen in primary care, endocrinology, cardiology, or nephrology clinics at an urban, academic hospital in the year before and the year after app introduction. Outpatients with at least 1 BP above the age-gender-height referenced 90th percentile were included. Abnormal BP recognition was defined as a BP related ICD-9 code, referral to nephrology or cardiology, an echocardiogram or renal ultrasound to evaluate BP concern, or a follow-up primary care visit for BP monitoring. Multivariable adjusted logistic regression compared odds of recognition before and after app introduction. Of 78 768 clinical encounters, 3521 had abnormal BP in the pre- and 3358 in the post-app period. App use occurred in 13% of elevated BP visits. Overall, abnormal BP was recognized in 4.9% pre-app period visits and 7.1% of visits post-app (P < .0001). Recognition was significantly higher when the app was actually used (adjusted OR 3.17 95% CI 2.29-4.41, P < .001). Without app use recognition was not different.


BP app advent modestly increased abnormal BP recognition in the entire cohort, but actual app use was associated with significantly higher recognition. Predictors of abnormal BP recognition deserve further scrutiny.


blood pressure; electronic health record; hypertension; pediatric; quality improvement

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