Two studies presented at the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta demonstrate that health IT can help increase rates of HIV testing and track patients with HIV who are not receiving adequate treatment, Reuters reports (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 8/16).
Boosting HIV Testing Rates
The rate of routine HIV testing grew significantly at Cleveland-based hospital system MetroHealth after electronic health record prompts were implemented, according to research from the Cleveland Department of Public Health (Fung, National Journal, 8/16). The study was led by Ann Avery, medical director of the department.
Before using EHRs to track testing, researchers found that just 4% of MetroHealth patients ages 13 to 64 were screened for HIV from 2008 to 2009 (Reuters, 8/16).
In 2010, MetroHealth added the EHR prompts to screen patients for HIV as a regular feature on physicians' health maintenance checklist.
Within six months of implementing the reminders, testing increased by nearly two-thirds at MetroHealth's outpatient clinics (National Journal, 8/16). The the rate of first-time testing for men rose from 2.9% to 6.1% (Reuters, 8/16).
In addition, the rate of patients never tested for HIV decreased from 58.1% to 53.9%, researchers found (National Journal, 8/16).
A separate study led by Jennifer Sayles -- director of the Office of AIDS Programs and Policy for Los Angeles County -- used disease mapping software to track HIV treatment rates in the county and identify those with HIV who were not receiving adequate treatment.
The study tracked the treatment of more than 12,000 individuals with HIV and found that 90% of patients reported receiving antiretroviral drugs as treatment.
The study also found that treatment varied by neighborhood.
Sayles noted that the study will be used to help target resources to those most in need (Reuters, 8/16).