Electronically distributed, computer-generated, individualized feedback enhances the use of a computerized practice guideline.
Clinical guidelines have been developed to assist with the management of patient care; however, these guidelines are frequently neglected in clinical practice. Computer-generated reminders enhance guideline use, but these systems often fail to achieve high rates of guideline utilization. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that computer-generated, individualized feedback regarding adherence to care guidelines will significantly improve clinician compliance with guideline recommendations presented through a computer-assisted management protocol. Half of the 45 primary care clinicians employed at a primary care clinic affiliated with an academic medical center, were randomized to receive a biweekly electronic mail message consisting of a computer-generated report summarizing his/her response to care guideline recommendations for the diabetic patients seen during the previous 2 weeks. Clinician compliance with guideline recommendations was the primary outcome measure. This study demonstrated that the intervention significantly increased clinician compliance with the guideline recommendations without incurring high maintenance expenses. Median compliance among the intervention group was 35% versus 6.1% among the control group (p < 0.01). Electronically distributed, computer-generated, individualized feedback regarding clinician use of care guideline recommendations is an effective way to enhance compliance with a care guideline.
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