Use of electronic clinical reminders to increase preventive screenings in a primary care setting: blueprint from a successful process in Kodiak, Alaska

J Prim Care Community Health. 2014 Jan 1;5(1):50-4. doi: 10.1177/2150131913496116. Epub 2013 Jul 11.


Purpose: The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) provides primary health care in Kodiak, Alaska and 6 outlying villages. KANA sought to actively improve key preventive screening rates for its patients.

Methods: KANA adopted an electronic health record in 2008 and deployed national clinical reminders from the Indian Health Service for 5 key preventive screenings: tobacco use, alcohol use, depression, intimate partner violence, and a comprehensive cardiovascular exam. Clinical reminders were deployed in a 5-step process: (a) establish clinical demand, (b) pilot test reminder, (c) expand reminder to all providers, (d) measure outcomes and share results, and (e) delegate clinical reminder follow-up (primarily to nurses).

Results: Data from 2007-2011 show screening rates for all 5 measures improved considerably, to levels significantly above the national average for Indian Health Service facilities.

Conclusions: Clinical reminders have been a key part of a multistep process to improve screening for depression, tobacco cessation, intimate partner violence, alcohol use, and cardiovascular disease. If deployed correctly, reminders are valuable tools in identifying patients who are overdue for preventive health screenings.

Keywords: clinical reminders; preventative care; primary care; screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alaska
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Domestic Violence / prevention & control
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration
  • Preventive Health Services / methods*
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Reminder Systems*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control