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Epic Outcomes

Exercise as a Vital Sign in Epic

UW Medicine in Washington identifies patients who may benefit from increased activity

Studies show that regular physical activity is important for the prevention and management of many chronic medical conditions, but it isn’t commonly discussed or prescribed by healthcare providers. A quality improvement and Clinical Practice Innovator’s program at UW Medicine led by doctors Cindy Lin and Nicole Gentile uses Epic to take a patient’s “exercise vital sign” and then recommend additional exercise based on this.

Lin and Gentile found that for each hour of self-reported exercise up to five hours per week, there was a 10% average decrease in both the Epic General Risk Score and the Charlson Comorbidity Index, indicating that patients who report more exercise may have lower clinical disease burdens.

During this pilot program, self-reported moderate-to-vigorous physical activity rates were documented in more than 60,000 outpatient visits at UW Medicine as part of the medical assistant’s patient vitals rooming process. In the primary care pilot, which included more than 32,000 patients, approximately 25% of patients reported no exercise. These patients could then be referred to appropriate community or online exercise resources.

Read more from UW Medicine.