Phenotyping Physician Practice Patterns And Associations With Response To A Nudge In The Electronic Health Record For Influenza Vaccination: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Health systems routinely implement changes to the design of electronic health records (EHRs). Physician behavior may vary in response and methods to identify this variation could help to inform future interventions. The objective of this study was to phenotype primary care physician practice patterns and evaluate associations with response to an EHR nudge for influenza vaccination.

Methods and findings: During the 2016-2017 influenza season, 3 primary care practices at Penn Medicine implemented an active choice intervention in the EHR that prompted medical assistants to template influenza vaccination orders for physicians to review during the visit. We used latent class analysis to identify physician phenotypes based on 9 demographic, training, and practice pattern variables, which were obtained from the EHR and publicly available sources. A quasi-experimental approach was used to evaluate response to the intervention relative to control practices over time in each of the physician phenotype groups. For each physician latent class, a generalized linear model with logit link was fit to the binary outcome of influenza vaccination at the patient visit level. The sample comprised 45,410 patients with a mean (SD) age of 58.7 (16.3) years, 67.1% were white, and 22.1% were black. The sample comprised 56 physicians with mean (SD) of 24.6 (10.2) years of experience and 53.6% were male. The model segmented physicians into groups that had higher (n = 41) and lower (n = 15) clinical workloads. Physicians in the higher clinical workload group had a mean (SD) of 818.8 (429.1) patient encounters, 11.6 (4.7) patient appointments per day, and 4.0 (1.1) days per week in clinic. Physicians in the lower clinical workload group had a mean (SD) of 343.7 (129.0) patient encounters, 8.0 (2.8) patient appointments per day, and 3.1 (1.2) days per week in clinic. Among the higher clinical workload group, the EHR nudge was associated with a significant increase in influenza vaccination (adjusted difference-in-difference in percentage points, 7.9; 95% CI, 0.4-9.0; P = .01). Among the lower clinical workload group, the EHR nudge was not associated with a significant difference in influenza vaccination rates (adjusted difference-in-difference in percentage points, -1.0; 95% CI, -5.3-5.8; P = .90).

Conclusions: A model-based approach categorized physician practice patterns into higher and lower clinical workload groups. The higher clinical workload group was associated with a significant response to an EHR nudge for influenza vaccination.