Automated clinical reminders for primary care providers in the care of CKD: a small cluster-randomized controlled trial. Academic Article uri icon


  • Primary care physicians (PCPs) care for most non-dialysis-dependent patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Studies suggest that PCPs may deliver suboptimal CKD care. One means to improve PCP treatment of CKD is clinical decision support systems (CDSSs).Cluster-randomized controlled trial.30 PCPs in a university-based outpatient general internal medicine practice and their 248 patients with moderate to advanced CKD who had not been referred to a nephrologist.2 CKD educational sessions were held for PCPs in both arms. The 15 intervention-arm PCPs also received real-time automated electronic medical record alerts for patients with estimated glomerular filtration rates <45 mL/min/1.73 m(2) recommending renal referral and urine albumin quantification if not done within the prior year.Primary outcome was referral to a nephrologist; secondary outcomes were albuminuria/proteinuria assessment, CKD documentation, optimal blood pressure (ie, <130/80 mm Hg), and use of renoprotective medications.The intervention and control arms did not differ in renal referrals (9.7% vs 16.5%, respectively; between-group difference, -6.8%; 95% CI, -15.5% to 1.8%; P = 0.1) or proteinuria assessments (39.3% vs 30.1%, respectively; between-group difference, 9.2%; 95% CI, -2.7% to 21.1%; P = 0.1). For intervention and control patients without a baseline proteinuria assessment, 27.7% versus 16.3%, respectively, had one at follow-up (P = 0.06). After controlling for clustering, these findings were largely unchanged and no significant differences were apparent between groups.Small single-center university-based practice, use of a passive CDSS that required PCPs to trigger the electronic order set.PCPs were willing to partake in a randomized trial of a CDSS to improve outpatient CKD care. Although CDSSs may have potential, larger studies are needed to further explore how best to deploy them to enhance CKD care.Copyright © 2011 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.