Article Title

Results of a Cluster-Randomized Trial Testing the Effects of TeenBP, an Electronic Health Record-Based Clinical Decision Support Tool, on Recognition of Adolescent Hypertension

Publication Date



child and adolescent health, primary care, clinical decision-making, chronic disease


Background: Hypertension occurs in 1%–3% of adolescents and is associated with long-term cardiovascular morbidity. Although blood pressure (BP) is routinely measured, hypertension in adolescents is often missed during outpatient visits. This study sought to evaluate whether “TeenBP,” an electronic health record (EHR)-linked, web-based clinical decision support tool, could improve recognition and early management of hypertension in adolescents.

Methods: We randomized 20 primary care clinics to receive the CDS or to continue usual care. At intervention sites, TeenBP was activated at the point of care when a BP was elevated. TeenBP graphically displayed systolic and diastolic BP values and percentiles over the prior 2 years, identified patients meeting criteria for hypertension (3 or more BPs ≥ 95th percentile), provided a summary of comorbidities and medications that may affect BP, and offered patient-specific order sets. Hypertension recognition, within 6 months of meeting criteria, was defined as adding hypertension or elevated BP (EBP) to the problem list or clinical notes, indicating hypertension or EBP as an outpatient visit diagnosis, prescribing a medication to lower BP, or diagnostic testing related to hypertension, and was identified through chart review. Generalized linear mixed models were used to test the effect of the intervention.

Results: Among 21,618 patients aged 10–17 years with a primary care visit at the 20 study clinics over one year (May 2014–April 2015), 315 (1.5%) met criteria for new-onset hypertension. Most BPs were modestly elevated (< 99th percentile). Clinical recognition of hypertension within 6 months occurred for 36.2% (27.7%–45.8%) of patients in usual care clinics and 68.0% (56.6%–77.6%) in the CDS clinics (P = 0.0003). Clinical recognition of hypertension in the TeenBP clinics was most often met by adding hypertension or EBP as an outpatient visit diagnosis (52.2%) or to the text of the clinical note (52.4%). Within 6 months of meeting criteria for hypertension, less than 10% of TeenBP or usual care subjects had an echocardiogram or renal ultrasound and only one patient initiated an antihypertensive medication.

Conclusion: We observed a large and statistically significant beneficial effect of this clinical decision support system on recognition of new-onset hypertension, without increasing diagnostic workups or early initiation of antihypertensive medication.