A Computerized Sexual Health Survey Improves Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infection in a Pediatric Emergency Department

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Abstract

Objectives

To assess whether clinical decision support, using computerized sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk assessments, results in increased STI testing of adolescents at high risk for STI.

Study design

In a 2-arm, randomized, controlled trial conducted at a single, urban, pediatric emergency department, adolescents completed a computerized sexual health survey. For patients assigned to the intervention arm, attending physicians received decision support to guide STI testing based on the sexual health survey–derived STI risk; in the usual care arm, decision support was not provided. We compared STI testing rates between the intervention and usual care groups, adjusting for potential confounding using multivariable logistic regression.

Results

Of the 728 enrolled patients, 635 (87.2%) had evaluable data (323 intervention arm; 312 usual care arm). STI testing frequency was higher in the intervention group compared with the usual care group (52.3% vs 42%; aOR 2 [95% CI 1.1, 3.8]). This effect was even more pronounced among the patients who presented asymptomatic for STI (28.6 vs 8.2%; aOR 4.7 [95% CI 1.4-15.5]).

Conclusions

Providing sexual health survey–derived decision support to emergency department clinicians led to increased testing rates for STI in adolescents at high risk for infection, particularly in those presenting asymptomatic for infection. Studies to understand potential barriers to decision support adherence should be undertaken to inform larger, multicenter studies that could determine the generalizability of these findings and whether this process leads to increased STI detection.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02509572.

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