Computer prompts delivered to primary care clinicians via EMIS Web can increase patient uptake of NHS Health Checks (NHSHC), a study has found.
Published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), the study found that reminding GPs to offer a patient an NHSHC during a consultation improved uptake by 4.58%.
The NHSHC programme – which targets all adults in England aged 40-74 years who do not have a pre-existing cardiovascular disease (CVD) condition – had only averaged a 48.1% uptake rate between 2014/15 and 2018/19, the study authors said.
Conducted among GP surgeries in Southwark CCG, the study sampled 3,548 patients, with a control group of 3,778.
After an EMIS Web protocol was installed in practice IT systems, clinicians were prompted: ‘Please offer the patient an appointment for their free NHS Health Check’.
The number of participants attending an NHSHC sat at 280 (7.41%) in the control to 454 (11.99%) in the intervention group, making a 4.58% increase.
While most NHSHC invitations are delivered by letter, verbal opportunistic face-to-face invitations have a higher rate of uptake, with some studies indicating an uptake rate of 71.9% under these circumstances.
‘Therefore, one way to increase uptake would be to increase the number of opportunistic verbal invitations that are issued’, namely by prompting clinicians at the point of care, the authors said.
The study said also suggested these clinical prompts could be generalised to improve uptake of other preventative procedures such as vaccinations.
However, these prompts will only influence patients already engaging with their local GP services, they added.
They also noted that Southwark is an urban location with a lower proportion of white patients than is typical across the country and a higher proportion aged below 65, potentially impacting the ‘generalisability of the findings’.