March 28, 2017

How Intermountain is predicting patients' chronic disease risk

Daily Briefing

Intermountain Healthcare has developed a new test that predicts which patients will develop chronic conditions, Bernie Monegain reports for Healthcare IT News.

According to Intermountain researchers, the scoring system—called ICHRON, or the Intermountain Chronic Disease Risk Score—can predict which patients will be diagnosed with chronic conditions within three years of when the test is performed.

ICHRON details

ICHRON uses patients' ages and results from traditional blood tests to determine their ICHRON score. To test the system, Intermountain researchers scored a sample of primary care patients who did not have a history of chronic disease.

Overall, the researchers found that the score was between 77 to 78 percent correct. They found that women who had moderate ICHRON scores were three times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic condition than women who had low ICHRON scores, while women who had high ICHRON scores were 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic condition than their low-scoring counterparts.

Among male patients, those with high ICHRON scores were 14 times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic condition than their low-scoring counterparts, while men with moderate ICHRON scores were 5.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with a chronic condition that those with low scores.

Score could affect treatment

According to Healthcare IT News, patients' ICHRON scores could affect the treatments patients receive. For instance, a clinician whose patient has a high ICHRON score could choose to see the patient more frequently or to treat them more aggressively. In contrast, a clinician could choose to see a patient who has a low ICHRON score less frequently or could choose not to pursue certain tests or treatments they might have otherwise considered.

Heidi May, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, said, "We hope ICHRON can be used to help identify patients who are at a higher risk for a chronic disease and therefore need more personalized care" (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 3/20).

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