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Aizpuru F.,Araba Research Unit Osakidetza Basque Health Service | Aizpuru F.,University of the Basque Country | Aizpuru F.,CIBER ISCIII | Latorre A.,Araba Research Unit Osakidetza Basque Health Service | And 8 more authors.
Family Practice | Year: 2012

Background: The electronic health record (EHR) allows a detailed study of the primary care consultations and assessment of variability among physicians regarding the implementation of practices for prevention, detection and monitoring of chronic diseases. Objectives: To describe the variability in the detection and surveillance of chronic conditions in primary care. Methods: Review of the medical records maintained by 1685 primary care physicians in the Basque Health Service. Estimation of age and sex standardized rates of compliance with evidence-based recommendations and the systematic component of variation (SCV). Results: Compliance with screening recommendations varied from 14.2% for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to 37.2% for hypercholesterolaemia of the at-risk populations. Variability between Primary Care Units (PCUs) was low (SCV. 5-95 < 0.10) for high blood pressure, hypercholesterolaemia and diabetes and high (SCV. 5-95 ≥ 0.20) for COPD. Based on the EHR registries, recommendations were followed to in at least 50% of relevant patients according to only 10 of the 44 good care practice (GCP) criteria. For 16 of the GCP criteria, the EHR data indicated compliance to the recommendations in <25% of patients diagnosed. Conclusions: EHR data indicate that some of the preventative care practices recommended to detect chronic problems in primary care are unevenly implemented across PCUs. Notably, there is less variation in the case of conditions for which evidence-based clinical practice guidelines have been published. The level of monitoring is inadequate for all the conditions studied; particularly in those in which it is less evident that primary care is the right level of the health service to provide this care. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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