Personalized Reminders Increase Screening for Stroke Risk in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia.
OBJECTIVES: Transcranial Doppler ultrasound (TCD) effectively identifies children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) who are at increased risk of stroke. We evaluated a low-cost quality improvement (QI) intervention to increase the proportion of children screened by TCD. METHODS: We measured the proportion of children with SCA receiving appropriate TCD screening for increased cerebral blood velocity, a marker of stroke risk, for time periods before (April 1, 2009-July 1, 2010) and after (October 1, 2010-January 1, 2012) the implementation of a QI program. We sent eligible families personalized reminder letters, information on screening, and a refrigerator magnet imprinted with the recommended date of TCD screening. RESULTS: Only 54% (60/112) of children (median age 8 years, range 2.2-16.7 years) had a TCD in the baseline period compared with 79% (87/110; P = 0.0001) after implementation of the QI initiative. The odds of appropriate TCD screening decreased with older age in the baseline period (odds ratio 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.78-0.94/year; P = 0.001), but not after implementation. Neither predicted travel time by car (median 20 minutes, range 2-164) nor distance traveled (median 9.7 mi, range 0.4-132) was significantly associated with appropriate TCD screening before or after QI implementation. The number needed to treat was four. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of a low-cost QI intervention to increase TCD screening. This approach was more successful than other related intervention models and is easily implemented by smaller sickle cell programs without full-time personnel.
Muntz, DS; Bundy, DG; Strouse, JJ
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