Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Northern California gathered data from roughly 5 million patients to develop an EHR-based registry that assesses alcohol use.
EHR data collected during a patient visit can be leveraged to develop an EHR registry of patients with excessive alcohol use that can be optimized and updated in real-time, Kaiser Permanente researchers reported in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
An EHR registry consisting of patient data could medical professionals address specific high-risk patients. In this case, researchers can utilize the registry to assess alcohol use and recovery methods.
Although alcohol abuse is a significant problem in the US, there were no current EHR-integrated registries that assessed these issues.Researchers used EHR-based data from Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) to source alcohol screening data from its roughly 5 million patients to develop an alcohol registry.
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KPNC provides internal specialty addiction medicine treatment to its members, which allows the health system to create a registry that outside health systems and researchers can use to assess patient data, aiming to uncover underlying health conditions.
According to a 2019 study, most patients are comfortable sharing their EHR data and biospecimens for research purposes, but some have sharing preferences based on specific data items and researcher affiliations.
In total, it took developers roughly 10 months to implement the registry into the KPNC EHR system. Developers created their own data dictionary to label files and variables that made up the registry, and the team minimized data cleaning to allow future health systems to develop their own decisions on how to utilize the data.
Researchers also created and integrated EHR reporting tools to display and facilitate registry trends over time, while also developing queries for quality control that identify missing data and show real-time storage requirements.
Researchers combed through EHR data between 2013 to 2019, which included adults with unhealthy alcohol use, alcohol-related health problems, and individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) diagnosis.
Once implemented, the KPNC Adult Alcohol Registry was able to assess the majority of alcohol-related issues, such as early identification, treatment initiation and engagement, and long-term outcomes.
Of the roughly five million patients included in the database, 13 percent had unhealthy alcohol use, and 3 percent had an AUD diagnosis, which is lower than the US average of 13.9 percent. Just under a half a percent of KPNC patients had alcohol-related health problems.
In KPNC’s large database, researchers identified a large group of adult patients with unhealthy alcohol abuse, an AUD, or an alcohol-related health issue that providers followed up on within two years.
As a whole, the registry data is comprehensive. It not only captures several alcohol-related diagnoses and lab tests, but it also compiles insurance information, health service utilization, and patient-reported outcomes, such as alcohol use levels, according to the study authors.
“This EHR-based registry provides a strong foundation for robust research examining the development of alcohol problems and recovery from them,” said the study authors.
Moving forward, the researchers recommend looking into preventive strategies that could stem several AUD or illness from excessive alcohol use, the researchers said.
“The registry can be used to address critical public health questions related to the full spectrum and course of alcohol problems, which will complement other methods used in alcohol research,” the researchers concluded. “Future analyses will aim to provide insight on how to strengthen efforts in the prevention of alcohol-related disability and mortality and improve patient-centered health care delivery.”
Source: EHR Intelligence