For every 5,000 providers who adopt the CDC’s fall risk screening program, organizations could prevent 1 million falls and save $3.5 billion in direct medical costs over five years, according to CDC estimates. The program, Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI), is a set of tools and guidelines that clinicians can use to assess and treat patients at risk of falling. For example, if a patient has fallen before or takes certain medications, the clinician might prescribe vitamin D for muscle strength, address the patient’s foot problems, or refer the patient to a physical therapist.
The University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics (UW) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) teamed up to become the first organizations to implement STEADI in Epic. According to a study published in The Gerontologist, 85.7% of providers and medical assistants surveyed at OHSU said the STEADI assessment tools in Epic made it easier to screen patients for fall risk and provide them with information to help reduce that risk. STEADI has been available since 2012, but experts expect adoption to increase as more organizations add the program to EHR workflows.