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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Ohio State’s EHR App Has Potential to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Although electronic health record (EHR) tools are a great help in tracking specific risk factors or diseases, not many are used to analyze factors that could contribute to chronic disease. Two Ohio State College of Public Health professors are on a mission to improve communication between patients and providers in relation to cardiovascular health. Dr. Randi Foraker, assistant professor in the division of epidemiology and Dr. Abigail Shoben, assistant professor in the division of biostatistics, have implemented a Stroke Prevention in Healthcare Delivery Environments (SPHERE) application to collect and display EHR data relevant to cardiovascular health.

Dr. Randi Foraker with EHR app
[Photo: Dr. Randi Foraker]

SPHERE is designed to summarize information on cardiovascular health and promote discussion between patients and providers. After collecting the data from the pilot outpatient clinic at Ohio State in relation to the application’s outcomes their research was featured in eGEMS, Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes, a journal created to promote research and quality improvement using electronic health data. In this case study, Dr. Foraker outlines the creation and use of this EHR-based tool, which pinpoints various factors and potential risks related to cardiovascular health in patients’ health records for discussion between doctors and patients

The article titled, “EHR-based Visualization Tool: Adoption Rates, Satisfaction, and Patient Outcomes,” describes not only provider satisfaction with the application but patient outcomes as well. Ten of 41 providers completed the survey which examined their satisfaction with the SPHERE application. Overall, providers expressed a high level of satisfaction.

Researchers found the SPHERE application did an accurate job creating a risk profile for patients. The EHR-based application visualizes health information about the patient, and calculates a cardiovascular health score at the point-of-care. The overall goal of the project was to decrease patients’ risk of stroke by being proactive about cardiovascular risk factors that are communicated through the SPHERE application. These factors include smoking status, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and weight. Together, the patient and provider can adjust risk factor levels using the application and discuss what changes the patient can make to lower their risk of stroke.

Overall, Drs. Foraker and Shoben stated that one challenge would be to maintain the healthcare application and keep it up to date with the evolving health care landscape.

In the future, evaluations of the SPHERE will include a more in-depth look at its usefulness, usability, and satisfaction. They will accomplish this by focusing on the satisfaction of patients and testing the application in other healthcare environments, outside of the primary care setting.

Other researchers on the study include Dr. Marcelo Lopetegui, a postdoctoral student in biomedical informatics who programmed the application; Dr. Philip Payne, associate professor and chair of Ohio State’s College of Medicine department of biomedical informatics, and joint associate professor of health services management and policy in the Ohio State College of Public Health; Dr. Albert Lai, assistant professor of biomedical informatics; and Dr. Rebecca Jackson,  director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and associate dean for clinical research in the College of Medicine at Ohio State.