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Decision support gives UCHealth physicians more treatment options

At six-hospital UCHealth in Colorado, pharmacists conduct medication reconciliation to create for physicians a list of all medications their patients are taking. This includes drug name, dosage, frequency, how the drug is administered and any alerts about the drug from the electronic health record.

While that’s helpful, it doesn’t assist a doctor in selecting the right drug at the time of prescribing, says Rich Zane, MD, chief innovation officer and chair of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “The EHR would alert me to contraindications of a drug but not the indication—the most appropriate drug,” he adds.

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To improve decision support for the prescribing process, UCHealth worked with start-up vendor RxRevu to develop a next-generation system to give physicians more information during the prescribing process. UCHealth was one of the first customers and went live in October 2016, starting with its primary care clinics. The vendor currently has six clients.

When a provider decides to prescribe, the cloud-based decision support system, which is accessed in the electronic health records workflow, will query the EHR for patient discrete conditions and historical information in the records system that could affect the drug decision. Having the decision support tool embedded in the EHR workflow gives immediate access to the tool rather than logging in to another system, Zane says.

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RxRevu collects and embeds patient data, available genetic information, claims, formularies, cost data, condition-specific order sets, best practices and treatment protocols into the EHR, among other information.

If a patient has high blood pressure Zane may type in “hypertension,” vital signs, other patient condition details, best practices, where the patient gets their medications and the price of the medication will be displayed, enabling the patient and physician to consider making a change.

The system, Zane says, “gives the right drug, for the right person, the first time. Having this data at our fingertips is better and easier for providers, better for health insurers and most importantly, better for patients.”

For the vendor, developing the product with UCHealth was an opportunity to work with a cutting edge medical center and foster tight collaborations with engineers and integrators, says Carm Huntress, CEO at RxRevu. “UCHealth brought the clinical decision support knowledge and that was critical to a startup like us.”

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