An Electronic Health Record–based Intervention to Promote Hepatitis C Virus Testing Among Adults Born Between 1945 and 1965: A Cluster-randomized Trial

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Background:The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends one-time hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody testing for “Birth Cohort” adults born during 1945–1965.Objective:To examine the impact of an electronic health record (EHR)-embedded best practice alert (BPA) for HCV testing among Birth Cohort adults.Design:Cluster-randomized trial was conducted from April 29, 2013 to March 29, 2014.Subjects and Setting:Ten community and hospital-based primary care practices. Participants were attending physicians and medical residents during 25,620 study-eligible visits.Intervention:Physicians in all practices received a brief introduction to the CDC testing recommendations. At visits for eligible patients at intervention sites, physicians received a BPA through the EHR to order HCV testing or medical assistants were prompted to post a testing order for the physician. Physicians in control sites did not receive the BPA.Main Outcomes:HCV testing; the incidence of HCV antibody positive tests was a secondary outcome.Results:Testing rates were greater among Birth Cohort patients in intervention sites (20.2% vs. 1.8%, P<0.0001) and the odds of testing were greater in intervention sites after controlling for imbalances of patient and visit characteristics between comparison groups [odds ratio (OR), 9.0; 95% confidence interval, 7.6–10.7). The adjusted OR of identifying HCV antibody positive patients was also greater in intervention sites (OR, 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–11.2).Conclusions:An EHR-embedded BPA markedly increased HCV testing among Birth Cohort patients, but the majority of eligible patients did not receive testing indicating a need for more effective methods to promote uptake.

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