Automation aids diabetes, hypertension care

April 21, 2011

A well-designed automated patient identification and outreach program can motivate those who have gaps in care to have their treatment needs addressed, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in Population Health Management.

A well-designed automated patient identification and outreach program can motivate those who have gaps in care to have their treatment needs addressed, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in Population Health Management.

The researchers found that patients who received automated communication messages were more likely to have both a chronic care office visit and an appropriate test than patients who were not contacted. Patients with diabetes who were successfully contacted were significantly more likely to have both a chronic care-related visit and an HbA1c test than their counterparts who were not contacted. Also, patients with hypertension were significantly more likely to have both a chronic care-related visit and a systolic blood pressure reading recorded in an electronic health record.

“We realized that simply identifying patients who have gaps in recommended care was not enough,” says Ashok Rai, MD, the study’s lead author and chief executive officer of Prevea Health, a large multispecialty healthcare organization based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “Unless we had a scalable and effective means to engage patients, those patients will at best delay treatment, and at worst not seek treatment at all.”

Richard Hodach, MD, MPH, PhD, another author of the paper and chief medical officer of Phytel, a healthcare technology company, says, “The automation of preventive and chronic care can help physicians and healthcare systems keep patients engaged in their recommended care and are a prerequisite for the success of Patient-Centered Medical Homes, accountable care organizations, and future healthcare delivery models that depend on care coordination and population-based health improvement.”