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Effect of an Electronic Alert on Treatment of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections

Effect of an Electronic Alert on Treatment of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections


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Himali Weerahandi, MD, MPH, Joseph Lurio, MD, FAAFP, Michelle Pichardo, MPH, Damon Duquaine, MPH, Winfred Wu, MD, MPH, Neil Calman, MD, FAAFP, Don Weiss, MD, MPH, Melissa A. Marx, PhD, MPH, and Jason J. Wang, PhD
 
This is a prospective intervention study conducted between 2007 and 2011 to evaluate whether an electronic alert can influence provider practice in treatment of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). A best-practice alert (BPA) was programmed to appear for intervention ICD-9 SSTI diagnoses. Controls were patients who had other SSTI ICD-9 codes where the BPA was not programmed to fire. Rate of culture taken in patients was compared between patients in the intervention and control groups. We found that cultures were taken among 13.5% of the intervention group and 5.4% of the control group (p <.0001). A logistic regression analysis controlling for covariates showed the odds of the intervention group having a culture taken was 2.6 times that of the control group. The results of this study support the use of BPAs for improving the management of SSTIs.