Using Electronic Clinical Decision Support to Examine Vision Rehabilitation Referrals and Practice Guidelines in Ophthalmology

Date Published:

2022 10 03


Purpose: To examine ophthalmologist use of an electronic health record (EHR)-based clinical decision support system (CDSS) to facilitate low vision rehabilitation (LVR) care referral. Methods: The CDSS alert was designed to appear when best documented visual acuity was <20/40 or hemianopia or quadrantanopia diagnosis was identified during an ophthalmology encounter from November 6, 2017, to April 5, 2019. Fifteen ophthalmologists representing eight subspecialties from an academic medical center were required to respond to the referral recommendation (order, don't order). LVR referral rates and ophthalmologist user experience were assessed. Encounter characteristics associated with LVR referrals were explored using multilevel logistic regression analysis. Results: The alert appeared for 3625 (8.9%) of 40,931 eligible encounters. The referral rate was 14.8% (535/3625). Of the 3413 encounters that met the visual acuity criterion only, patients who were worse than 20/60 were more likely to be referred, and 32.4% of referred patients were between 20/40 and 20/60. Primary reasons for deferring referrals included active medical or surgical treatment, refractive-related issues, and previous connection to LVR services. Eleven of the 13 ophthalmologists agreed that the alert was useful in identifying candidates for LVR services. Conclusions: A CDSS for patient identification and referral offers an acceptable mechanism to apply practice guidelines and prompt ophthalmologists to facilitate LVR care. Further study is warranted to optimize ophthalmologist user experience while refining alert criteria beyond visual acuity. Translational Relevance: The CDSS provides the framework for multi-center research to assess the development of pragmatic algorithms and standards for facilitating LVR care.

Last updated on 10/29/2022