Impact of an Electronic Medical Record-Based Clinical Decision Support Tool for Dysphagia Screening on Care Quality

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Dysphagia screening (DS) before oral intake in patients with acute stroke is a hospital-level performance measure. We report outcomes of an initiative to improve compliance to this quality measure.

Methods—

The design was a pre- versus postintervention comparison study. The Intervention was an electronic medical record-based clinical DS system embedded within stroke admission orders. The clinical DS was designed to facilitate DS in patients with stroke. The primary outcome was compliance to a process measure in patients with ischemic stroke: performance of a swallow screen before oral intake.

Results—

DS measure compliance increased from 36% to 74% (P=0.001). Chart audits found screened patients were more likely to have clinical DS-embedded admission orders initiated or stroke unit admission.

Conclusion—

The electronic medical record offers a ready platform for clinical DS implementation. DS is a difficult performance measure to improve. The described clinical DS has the potential for improving performance on this challenging care quality measure.

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