A quality improvement initiative to improve folic acid supplementation counseling for adolescent females with epilepsy

Sara E. Molisani, Darshana Parikh, Marissa DiGiovine, Dennis Dlugos, Mark P. Fitzgerald, Lawrence Fried, Ingo Helbig, Sudha Kilaru Kessler, Pamela Pojomovsky McDonnell, Susan Melamed, Marisa S. Prelack, Uzma Sharif, Sarah Tefft, Jaclyn Tencer, Stephanie Witzman, Kathy Shaw, Nicholas S. Abend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We designed a quality improvement (QI) project to improve rates of documented folic acid supplementation counseling for adolescent females with epilepsy, consistent with a quality measure from the American Academy of Neurology and American Epilepsy Society. Our SMART aim was to increase the percentage of visits at which folic acid counseling was addressed from our baseline rate of 23% to 50% by July 1, 2020. Methods: This initiative was conducted in female patients ≥12 years old with epilepsy who were prescribed daily antiseizure medication and were seen by the 13 providers in our Neurology QI Program. Using provider interviews, we undertook a root cause analysis of low counseling rates and identified the following main factors: insufficient time during clinic visit to counsel, lack of provider knowledge, and forgetting to counsel. Countermeasures were designed to address these main root causes and were implemented through iterative plan–do–study–act (PDSA) cycles. Interventions included provider education and features within the electronic health record, which were introduced sequentially, culminating in the creation of a best practice advisory (BPA). We performed biweekly chart reviews of visits for applicable patients to establish baseline performance rate and track progress over time. We used a statistical process control p-chart to analyze the outcome measure of documented counseling. As a balancing measure, clinicians were surveyed using the Technology Adoption Model survey to assess acceptance of the BPA. Results: From September 2019 to August 2022, the QI team improved rates of documented folic acid counseling from 23% to 73% through several PDSA cycles. This level of performance has been sustained over time. The most successful and sustainable intervention was the BPA. Provider acceptance of the BPA was overall positive. Significance: We successfully used QI methodology to improve and sustain our rates of documented folic acid supplementation counseling for adolescent females with epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2818-2826
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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