Improving Universal Pediatric Lipid Screening

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To evaluate whether the release of national guidelines, electronic health record (EHR) modifications, and educational initiatives correlated with changes in pediatricians' universal lipid screening practices.

Study design

Retrospective review of EHRs in an academic general pediatric practice was performed to measure the prevalence of order placement. A child was “screened” if an order was placed during a well-visit between 9 and 21 years of age. The prevalence of order placement for lipid screens on 22 374 patients from January 2010 to December 2015 was analyzed for date of order and patient age, then compared with timing of guidelines, local educational initiatives, and EHR modifications. Primary study outcome was lipid screening order placement over time.


Order placement increased from 8.9% (95% CI 8.3%-9.5%) before any intervention to 50.0% (95% CI 48.8%-51.2%) over the last 12 months of the study period (P < .001). All age groups showed significant increases in order placement. Changes in screening were seen following guideline publications, educational initiatives, and EHR modifications (for all, P < .0001). Order completion was 69.6% (95% CI 68.9%-70.3%). The composite prevalence of screening (order placement multiplied by order completion) was 46.8% over the 6-year study period.


Improved adherence to recommendations for universal lipid screening is possible through educational initiatives and EHR modifications. Inclusion of 12- to 16-year-old adolescents/teenagers as a targeted group for universal screening in addition to recommended age groups improved screening prevalence. Similar efforts could be applicable for implementation of other guidelines.

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