Electronic Health Record-based programs triples osteoporosis screening rate, study finds

DANVILLE, PA. -- Use of the Electronic Health Record tripled the rate of osteoporosis screenings in women who are at risk for the disease, according to a study conducted recently by a team of Geisinger Health System researchers.

About half of those who were screened were considered high-risk for the disease, the study found.

An estimated 10 million Americans suffer from the disease and the nation collectively spends about $18 billion per year on bone fractures related to osteoporosis.

EHR-screening programs can help improve those numbers, make patients’ everyday lives less painful and save doctors time and resources, said Dr. Eric Newman, Geisinger’s Director of Rheumatology.

The EHR was used to identify women who had not had bone density screens for osteoporosis in the last two years. Those women were sent letters and received telephone calls if their records were flagged.

"This is pretty significant," said Dr. William Ayoub of Geisinger Medical Group-Scenery Park, State College, one of the study’s authors. "The EHR is streamlining the screening process and letting people know about a potential health concern before it becomes a major problem."

The EHR screening program was started in two Geisinger family practice clinics near State College, Pa. It was so successful that there are now plans to implement the program at other sites throughout the Geisinger system, Newman said.

Geisinger Health System is widely recognized as a leader in EHR implementation and development. Osteoporosis screening is one of the specific areas in which Geisinger has used its fully implemented $70 million Electronic Health Record, Newman said.

"We are clearly out there trying to prevent fractures from occurring," Newman said. "We proactively want to identify women who are at a great risk for osteoporosis."

The study was presented at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting in Washington D.C. in November. Just one in 10 papers were accepted for oral presentation at the meeting.


About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is one of the nation's leading fully integrated healthcare providers. Founded in 1915, Geisinger serves more than two million residents throughout central and northeastern Pennsylvania. The physician-led organization is at the forefront of the country's rapidly emerging electronic health records movement. Geisinger includes three major regional medical centers, a 650-member group practice, a not-for-profit health insurance company, and the Geisinger Center for Health Research—dedicated to creating innovative new models for patient care, satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

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