According to a new study by Penn Medicine, merely educating the doctors regarding the significance of prescribing specific therapies might not be sufficient. Utilizing the acid suppression therapy, that is a very effective technique for the reduction of the threat of gastrointestinal bleeding in cardiac patients that are vulnerable, the researchers examined interventions that used both an electronic “dashboard” and education system that was linked to the electronic medical records of the patients. They found that the therapy alone was not having a noticeable effect on the rates of prescription, however, using the dashboard showed an increase of roughly 18% in medication orders.
“This study shows that education alone is typically not a sufficient method for changing the behavior of providers and care teams,” said Shivan Mehta, the senior author of the study. “We demonstrated that although clinical leaders should collaborate to identify best practices, care redesign, technology, and behavior change strategies are also needed.”
The therapy of acid suppression includes prescribing the patients with medications in order to decrease the acid level in their stomach that would reduce symptoms of heartburn and treat ulcers. It may also reduce the risk of ulcer development in some patients like cardiac patients that are taking some particular medications that might increase the chance of bleeding.
“The main reason the patients are at risk is because they’re placed on medications—or combinations of medications—such as anti-platelet agents or anticoagulation,” said Carolyn Newberry, the lead author of the study. “These medications are important for treating or preventing cardiovascular disease but they also have side effects such as increased bleeding in the G.I. tract.”
This nudge assisted by technology was very beneficial, and the study team believes that it could further improve the desired outcomes in many other clinical areas as well.
“No one dashboard or technology will work in every area, so it is important to partner with clinicians and identify workflows and processes where it can complement care,” said Newberry. “Our experience highlights this individualized nature and the importance of continued collaboration, along with process redesigns, to achieve sustainable success.”