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Innovative Web-based Tool Helps Doctors Improve Care
Date:10/1/2010

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A web-based tool that extracts information from the electronic medical record (EMR) helps primary care physicians improve care and manage their entire panel of patients. Those are the findings of two new Kaiser Permanente studies -- the first to examine the effectiveness of a panel management tool in a large, diverse patient population.

The first study, published today in The American Journal of Managed Care, found that the proprietary Panel Support Tool or (PST), helped doctors improve care for patients with diabetes and/or heart disease.  The other study, whose findings appeared in Population Health Management, found that the PST also helped doctors provide better preventive care for healthy patients.

The Panel Support Tool (PST), devised and implemented by doctors at Kaiser Permanente, is a web-based tool that helps primary care physicians manage care for individual patients, groups of patients or their entire panel. It does this by comparing the care the patient is receiving to the care that is recommended by national guidelines.  For example, doctors can query the PST in advance of a patient visit to find out if that patient needs a screening test or vaccine. They can ask the PST to display a list of all of their patients who are overdue for a mammogram or colon cancer screening test or a list of their diabetic patients whose blood sugar levels are too high, or those who need a foot or eye exam.

"Patients in the US receive only about half of the preventive and follow-up care now recommended by national guidelines. Our study shows that, by using the innovative Panel Support Tool, in conjunction with the electronic medical record, we can provide patients with more of the care they are supposed to receive," said Adrianne Feldstein, MD, MS, lead author of the AJMC study and senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Orego
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