Developing Interventions for Overweight and Obese Children using Electronic Health Records Data

Cochran, Jill; Baus, Adam
March 2015
Online Journal of Nursing Informatics;Spring2015, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p3
Academic Journal
Childhood obesity and the resulting co-morbid conditions have become a massive burden for primary caregivers in West Virginia and across the United States. Building culturally sensitive clinical interventions to meet population health needs presents a multi-factorial challenge. Historically it has been difficult to accurately assess the demographic characteristics of clinic populations. Fortunately, the use of electronic health records (EHR) has created a major shift in clinical documentation and the ability to routinely collect essential demographic and clinical data. While data for Meaningful Use under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is increasingly used to evaluate clinical care and outcomes, use of EHR data outside of the Meaningful Use umbrella has not received sufficient attention. This study was designed to explore the use of EHR data beyond Meaningful Use to obtain demographic characteristics of an obese and overweight pediatric population in a rural primary care center for the purpose of informing appropriate, locally relevant intervention strategies. Findings show that the breadth and depth of information recorded on each patient can collectively provide valuable information to describe and evaluate the clinic population, identify priority areas to address, and measure change over time. Application of EHR data to understand the demographic characteristics of this particular patient population highlights the ability to identify target patient populations, uncover critical patient-level and population-level outcomes, inform intervention development and implementation, and add value to efforts in quality improvement systems transformation. Use of EHR data outside of the Meaningful Use umbrella needs increased attention in primary care.


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