Effect of an Electronic Health Record Decision Support Alert to Decrease Excess Cervical Cancer Screening

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5 Scopus citations


Objective Cervical cancer screening is often conducted in excess of current screening guidelines. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of an electronic health record (EHR) clinical decision support alert to decrease guideline-nonadherent cervical cancer screening beyond the age limits of screening or posthysterectomy. Materials and Methods The proportion of guideline-nonadherent Pap tests in women younger than 21 years or older than 65 years or posthysterectomy were compared 4 months before and 3 months after implementation of an EHR clinical decision support alert warning providers that a Pap test is not indicated. Providers could cancel the Pap test or override the alert and place the order. Provider characteristics and Pap test indications were summarized by preintervention/postintervention period using descriptive statistics. The proportions of nonindicated Pap tests were compared by intervention period and provider characteristics using generalized estimating equation models. Results In women beyond the screening age limits or posthysterectomy, a total of 388 Pap tests were ordered before intervention, and 313 tests were ordered after intervention. Proportion of guideline-nonadherent tests was similar before (62%) and after intervention (63%); thus, implementation of the clinical decision support alert did not change the proportion of guideline-nonadherent Pap tests ordered (OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 0.77-1.52). It is notable that 52% of guideline-nonadherent tests were ordered by 11 providers. Even when controlling for providers who ordered more than 1 test during the study period, multivariate analysis showed that male providers were more likely to order guideline-nonadherent Pap tests (OR = 2.30, 95% CI = 1.36-3.89); no other differences by provider characteristics were observed. Conclusions An EHR clinical decision support alert does not decrease guideline-nonadherent cervical cancer screening. These data suggest efforts to optimize clinical decision support should be focused on other aspects of cervical cancer prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-258
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of lower genital tract disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


  • best practice alert
  • cervical cancer screening
  • clinical decision support
  • electronic health record
  • overscreening


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