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  • National Drinking Water Alliance

Assessing pediatric SSB consumption: New screener in Electronic Health Record

A physician-led team at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has built a screening tool for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in the electronic health record (EHR). The screener loads automatically as a best practice alert for children 6 months through 17 years of age. It repeats at 90-day intervals, so most children are "screened" more than once per year. The question asks about usual SSB consumption frequency, and response choices are standardized ranging from "Never" up to "4 or more per day."

The bar graph shows the frequency of SSB/100% fruit juice consumption in last month as reported in EHR for 22,626 pediatric patients at Wake Forest Baptist. Click to read more about the implementation and uptake of the screener. The link between EHR-reported SSB consumption and child weight status is the next focus for the research team.

Caregivers of children who screen “high,” either consuming more than one serving of fruit juice or any reported amount of sugary drinks per day, receive educational information. This information is included automatically in the after-visit summary and in a video that is emailed directly to caregivers. The research team worked with health communications experts to develop the five-minute “reality TV” style video which illustrates the negative health impacts of sugary drinks and promotes water consumption.

Wake Forest Baptist uses an Epic platform for their EHR, so the screener can easily be implemented at other health systems also using Epic. The researchers are available to partner with medical practices wishing to integrate this new tool to help replicate the success at Wake Forest through steps such as engaging key stakeholders and workflow planning. Contact the research team through NDWA by emailing

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