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AHRQ Launches Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) Tool for Primary Care Clinicians

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Press Release Date: October 26, 2006

A new Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) tool for primary care clinicians to use when recommending preventive services for their patients was unveiled today by the Department of Health " Human Services' (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) at the National Prevention Summit. The interactive tool is designed for use on a personal digital assistant (PDA) or desktop computer to allow clinicians to access the latest recommendations from the AHRQ-sponsored U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The tool can be viewed and is available for download from the AHRQ Web site at

"This Electronic Preventive Services Selector will assist physicians in selecting the right preventive service for the right patient in real time," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. "It will help us create a culture of wellness; a society that thinks of staying healthy rather than simply being treated after we're sick." Secretary Leavitt announced the tool at today's National Prevention Summit Awards Luncheon in Washington, DC.

The ePSS is designed to serve as an aid to clinical decision-making at the point of care and contains 110 recommendations for specific populations covering 59 separate preventive services topics. The 'real time' search function allows a clinician to input a patient's age, gender, and selected behavioral risk factors, such as whether or not they smoke, in the appropriate fields. The software cross-references the patient characteristics entered with the applicable Task Force recommendations and generates a report specifically tailored for that patient.

The associated database includes information on screening tests ranging from mammograms to ultrasound tests to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms, as well as counseling topics and information on preventive medications. The ePSS PDA has user-friendly components that makes it easy to navigate and allows it to work on platforms for Palm®- and Windows® operating systems. The desktop computer version also provides clinicians with the ability to print out individualized health reports that can be shared with their patients.

"I am proud of this product," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "The ePSS can provide a basis for initiating important and sometimes difficult conversations between patients and their health care providers."

In addition, AHRQ recently announced a partnership with United Health Foundation to print and distribute more than 400,000 copies of the 2006 Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, a pocket-sized book featuring the Task Force's latest preventive screening recommendations, and has also released the Adult Preventive Services Timeline, a wall chart based on Task Force recommendations that can help determine who needs preventive services and when.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is the leading independent panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary care. The Task Force conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of a broad range of clinical preventive services, including screening, counseling, and preventive medications. Its recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services.

Editor's Note: AHRQ staff will be in attendance at the National Prevention Summit and will be available for media inquiry and demonstration of the Electronic Prevention Service Selector (ePSS).

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1246 or (301) 427-1865.


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