A new initiative to systematically record patients’ physical activity data into their EHRs along with other vital statistics can help improve patient care and quality, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The electronic Exercise Vital Sign initiative developed by Kaiser Permanente compiles patients’ physical activity levels, providing information that can help clinicians better treat and counsel patients about their lifestyles, researchers find. Patients are asked about their exercise habits during routine outpatient visits and their responses are included in their EHR, along with other traditional vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse and temperature. This gives clinicians the opportunity to counsel them during these routine visits. Plus, the tool has the potential to provide information about the relationship between exercise and healthcare utilization, cost and chronic disease, researchers say.
The study examined the EHRs of 1,793,385 Kaiser Permanente southern California patients ages 18 and older from April 2010 to March 2011 and found that 86 percent of all eligible patients had an exercise vital sign in their EHR. Of those patients, one-third were meeting national guidelines for physical activity, while two-thirds were not meeting guidelines. Of those not meeting guidelines, one-third were not exercising at all.
Kaiser Permanente is one of the first and largest healthcare organizations to implement an Exercise Vital Sign in patient health records. The initiative was launched in the organization’s southern California region in 2009 and has since been implemented in several of Kaiser Permanente’s regions.
Source: Kaiser Permanente, October 17, 2012
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