Health information systems in small practices: Improving the delivery of clinical preventive services

Sarah C. Shih, Colleen M. McCullough, Jason J. Wang, Jesse Singer, Amanda S. Parsons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Despite strong evidence that clinical preventive services (CPS) reduce morbidity and mortality, CPS performance has not improved in adult primary care. In addition to implementing electronic health records (EHRs), key factors for improving CPS include providing actionable information at the point of care, technical support staff, and quality-improvement assistance. These resources are not typically available in small practices. Purpose: Estimate the impact on CPS delivery after a software upgrade to embed a clinical decision support system and practice-level quality-improvement support services. Methods: Practices were recruited from the Primary Care Information Project, a citywide initiative assisting practices adopt health information technology. Data were collected in 2009 and 2010, and analyses were conducted in 2010 and 2011. Across two time periods, receipt of CPS was calculated for 56 practices. Period 1 measured CPS delivery 237 months following implementation of an EHR. Period 2 measured CPS delivery within the first 6 months after an EHR software upgrade. Results: Substantial increases in the delivery of selected CPS were observed after the EHR software upgrades. Blood pressure control for patients with hypertension increased from 46.0% to 54.8%. Breast cancer screening, recorded BMI, and HbA1c testing for patients with diabetes also increased. More than half of the practices increased their patients' blood pressure control, recorded BMI, breast cancer screening, and HbA1c screening by <5 percentage points. Conclusions: Delivery of CPS can increase in small primary care practices that implement an EHR that includes comprehensive quality-improvement support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-609
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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