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Protocol for pragmatic randomised trial: integrating electronic health record-based behavioural economic 'nudges' into the electronic health record to reduce preoperative testing for patients undergoing cataract surgery.

Ahmadi A, Sorensen A, Villaflores CWA, Mafi JN, Vangala SS, Hofer IS, Bartlett JD, Cheng EM, Duval VF, Damberg C, Elashoff D, Goldstein NJ, Ladapo JA, Moore JM, Pessegueiro AM, Shu SB, Skootsky SA, Turner A, Sarkisian CA. Protocol for pragmatic randomised trial: integrating electronic health record-based behavioural economic 'nudges' into the electronic health record to reduce preoperative testing for patients undergoing cataract surgery. BMJ open. 2021 Nov 3; 11(11):e049568.

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Abstract:

INTRODUCTION: Robust randomised trial data have shown that routine preoperative (pre-op) testing for cataract surgery patients is inappropriate. While guidelines have discouraged testing since 2002, cataract pre-op testing rates have remained unchanged since the 1990s. Given the challenges of reducing low-value care despite strong consensus around the evidence, innovative approaches are needed to promote high-value care. This trial evaluates the impact of an interdisciplinary electronic health record (EHR) intervention that is informed by behavioural economic theory. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This pragmatic randomised trial is being conducted at UCLA Health between June 2021 and June 2022 with a 12-month follow-up period. We are randomising all UCLA Health physicians who perform pre-op visits during the study period to one of the three nudge arms or usual care. These three nudge alerts address (1) patient harm, (2) increased out-of-pocket costs for patients and (3) psychological harm to the patients related to pre-op testing. The nudges are triggered when a physician starts to order a pre-op test. We hypothesise that receipt of a nudge will be associated with reduced pre-op testing. The primary outcome will be the change in the percentage of patients undergoing pre-op testing at 12 months. Secondary outcomes will include the percentage of patients undergoing specific categories of pre-op tests (labs, EKGs, chest X-rays (CXRs)), the efficacy of each nudge, same-day surgery cancellations and cost savings. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study protocol was approved by the institutional review board of the University of California, Los Angeles as well as a nominated Data Safety Monitoring Board. If successful, we will have created a tool that can be disseminated rapidly to EHR vendors across the nation to reduce inappropriate testing for the most common low-risk surgical procedures in the country. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT04104256.





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