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Increases in HIV screening in primary care clinics through an electronic reminder: an interrupted time series


Objective aim Identify and eliminate barriers to HIV testing in primary care and to decrease the rates of patients never being tested, and limit unnecessary repeat testing.

Setting Primary care clinics within an urban publicly funded safety net hospital and community health system in Cleveland, Ohio. Reported HIV prevalence among male Cleveland residents is 1193.5/100 000.

Design A time series analysis using statistical process control was used.

Methods Primary care encounters of patients aged 13–64 years from selected sites were reviewed throughout the initiative for HIV testing prior to the visit and associated with the visit.

Results Run charts of the proportion of men and women never tested for HIV demonstrated marked improvement and special cause variation with six sequential quarters falling outside of the trend lines. Evaluation of encounters associated with a first HIV test confirmed testing occurring within primary care rather than elsewhere in the health system.

Conclusions Implementing an electronic medical record-based reminder effectively increased HIV testing among primary care patients not previously tested, while education and practice feedback alone did not.

  • Reminders
  • Decision Support, Computerized
  • Quality Improvement

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