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Empirical research

Using electronic health record data to identify prostate cancer patients that may qualify for active surveillance


Andrew J. Knighton ,

Intermountain Healthcare
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Tom Belnap,

Intermountain Healthcare
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Kim Brunisholz,

Intermountain Healthcare
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Kelly Huynh,

Intermountain Healthcare
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Jay T. Bishoff

Intermountain Urological Institute
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Introduction: The introduction of the protein-specific antigen (PSA) test in care means that prostate cancer (PCa) is being detected earlier and more frequently. The result of increased screening using PSA, digital rectal examination and awareness of prostate was an increase in the number of men with low risk cancers. Active surveillance has become a viable alternative to immediate treatment with surgery, radiation and other forms of localized treatment. Evidence suggests that there is no significant difference in mortality rates between AS and surgery. In addition, patients may potentially delay other complications associated with surgery, radiation or deprivation therapy.

Methods: This quality improvement study using a delivery system science framework describes the electronic identification of AS candidates given an evidence-based identification criteria based upon national guidelines and clinical judgement. The study population (n=649) was drawn from health records of all patients who received a prostate biopsy (n=1731) at Intermountain Healthcare from 1/1/2013 to 12/31/2014. Automated and manual abstraction was performed. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to compare AS-eligible patients to the actual treatment received to identify potential care improvement opportunities.

Among those with complete data, 24.7% of this population (n=160) met “AS-eligible” criteria. 39.1% of the population had not received surgery, radiation or androgen deprivation therapy and were considered as being treated using an AS approach. 9% of AS-eligible patients did not receive AS; 27% of patients who did not meet AS-eligible criteria received AS. Estimated guideline adherence measured using area under the curve was 0.70 (95% CI: 0.66-0.73). Modest variation in criteria parameters for identifying AS-eligible patients did not significantly change estimated adherence levels.

Conclusion: Implementation of evidence-based criteria for detection of AS candidates is feasible using electronic health record data and provides a reasonable basis for delivery system evaluation of practice patterns and for quality improvement.

How to Cite: Knighton AJ, Belnap T, Brunisholz K, Huynh K, Bishoff JT. Using electronic health record data to identify prostate cancer patients that may qualify for active surveillance. eGEMs (Generating Evidence & Methods to improve patient outcomes). 2016;4(3):8. DOI:
Published on 10 Aug 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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