Automated Screening to Identify Hyperparathyroidism
Maryanne Peifer, MD, MSIS
Douglas Fraker, MD
Jeremy Flood, MD
David Nicklin, MD
Daniel Herman, MD, PhD
Jasmine Hwang, MD, MS
Jesse Passman, MD, MPH
Mika Epps, MSN
Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is a disorder resulting from overactive parathyroid glands that can cause calcium-related health issues if left untreated. Estimates suggest that PHPT occurs in 1 percent of the United States population, with patients who are older, female, or Black at higher risk. However, 75 percent of affected individuals are not screened for PHPT. At Penn Medicine, this translates to around 2,000 primary care patients with undiagnosed PHPT.
With support from the Nudge Unit, a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has developed an automated method for identifying and treating PHPT. The tool scans the electronic health records (EHRs) of patients for lab abnormalities indicative of hyperparathyroidism. If the criteria are met, the patient’s primary care provider receives an alert through the EHR's Storyboard – a sidebar summarizing essential patient details, including a "Care Gaps" section where this screening alert appears – recommending they order the lab tests needed for PHPT diagnosis. The tool also provides diagnostic guidance based on the lab results.
A pilot study testing this intervention is currently underway. Results will be posted here once available.