BACKGROUND: Proper advance care planning (ACP) documentation both improves patient care and is increasingly seen as a marker of high quality by governmental payers. The transition of most medical documentation to electronic health records (EHR) allows for ACP documents to be rapidly disseminated across diverse ambulatory practice settings. At the same time, the complexity and heterogeneity of the EHR, as well as the multiple potential storage locations for documentation, may lead to confusion and inaccessibility. There has been movement to promote structured ACP (S-ACP) documentation within the EHR.METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study at a single, large university medical center in California to analyze rates of S-ACP documentation. S-ACP was defined as ACP documentation contained in standardized locations, auditable, and not in free-text format. The analytic cohort composed of all patients 65 and older with at least one ambulatory encounter at Stanford Health Care between 2012 and 2020, and without concurrent hospice care. We then analyzed clinic-level, provider-level, insurance, and temporal factors associated with S-ACP documentation rate.RESULTS: Of 187,316unique outpatient encounters between 2012 and 2020, only 7,902 (4.2%) contained S-ACP documentation in the EHR. The most common methods of S-ACP documentation were through problem list diagnoses (3,802; 40.3%) and scanned documents (3,791; 40.0%). At the clinic level, marked variability in S-ACP documentation was observed, with Senior Care (46.6%) and Palliative Care (25.0%) demonstrating highest rates. There was a temporal trend toward increased S-ACP documentation rate (p<0.001).CONCLUSION: This retrospective, single-center study reveals a low rate of S-ACP documentation irrespective of clinic and specialty. While S-ACP documentation rate should not be construed as a proxy for ACP documentation rate, it nonetheless serves as an important quality metric which may be reported to payers. This study highlights the need to both centralize and standardize reporting of ACP documentation in complex EHR systems.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s12904-022-01099-9
View details for PubMedID 36419072