Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Early detection of lung cancer improves survival chances, but lung cancer screening rates are much lower than those of other cancer screening tests.
Placing prompts in the electronic health record systems will help to remind primary care physicians of patients’ eligibility for lung cancer screening. This could help to bolster screening rates.
Two novel EHR workflow prompts were implemented, and these prompts included fields to determine tobacco use and lung cancer screening eligibility. The prompts were designed to improve tobacco use data entry, thus it would help to identify lung cancer screening eligibility.
The team of scientists at Rutgers University who worked towards solving this challenge, have seen a significant increase in medical record completeness, as well as increased number of patients eligible for lung cancer screening, and increased ordering of LDCTs among eligible patients.
For the study, Steinberg et al. conducted a retrospective study analysing data from over 48,700 patient visits in the year leading up to and after implementing electronic health record (EHR) prompts at Rutgers. The prompts for smoking information aimed to improve smoking data collection and increase low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) orders for eligible patients.
Following the change, the percentage of patents with complete data in their record increased from 63% to 68%. Among those who met the screening eligibility criteria, the percentage increased from 14.6% to 36.6% afterwards.
The authors emphasised that the utility of EHR prompt implementation to accurately record tobacco use and intensity allows for a highly effective method to enhance LDCT screenings for eligible patients. Ultimately, these prompts offer valuable decision-making support for healthcare providers.