Using electronic health record data to evaluate preventive service utilization among uninsured safety net patients

Prev Med. 2014 Oct;67:306-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.08.006. Epub 2014 Aug 11.


Objective: This study compared the preventive service utilization of uninsured patients receiving care at Oregon community health centers (CHCs) in 2008 through 2011 with that of continuously insured patients at the same CHCs in the same period, using electronic health record (EHR) data.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis, using logistic mixed effects regression modeling to calculate odds ratios and rates of preventive service utilization for patients without insurance, or with continuous insurance.

Results: CHCs provided many preventive services to uninsured patients. Uninsured patients were less likely than continuously insured patients to receive 5 of 11 preventive services, ranging from OR 0.52 (95% CI: 0.35-0.77) for mammogram orders to 0.75 (95% CI: 0.66-0.86) for lipid panels. This disparity persisted even in patients who visited the clinic regularly.

Conclusion: Lack of insurance is a barrier to preventive service utilization, even in patients who can access care at a CHC. Policymakers in the United States should continue to address this significant prevention disparity.

Keywords: Community health centers; Electronic medical records; Health insurance; Preventive services.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Community Health Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medically Uninsured / ethnology
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oregon
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety-net Providers / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult