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Clinical decision support systems


Beeler, Patrick Emanuel; Bates, David Westfall; Hug, Balthasar Luzius (2014). Clinical decision support systems. Swiss Medical Weekly, 144:w14073.

Abstract

Clinical decision support (CDS) systems link patient data with an electronic knowledge base in order to improve decision-making and computerised physician order entry (CPOE) is a requirement to set up electronic CDS. The medical informatics literature suggests categorising CDS tools into medication dosing support, order facilitators, point-of-care alerts and reminders, relevant information display, expert systems and workflow support. To date, CDS has particularly been recognised for improving processes. CDS successfully fostered prevention of deep-vein thrombosis, improved adherence to guidelines, increased the use of vaccinations, and decreased the rate of serious medication errors. However, CDS may introduce errors, and therefore the term "e-iatrogenesis" has been proposed to address unintended consequences. At least two studies reported severe treatment delays due to CPOE and CDS. In addition, the phenomenon of "alert fatigue" - arising from a high number of CDS alerts of low clinical significance - may facilitate overriding of potentially critical notifications. The implementation of CDS needs to be carefully planned, CDS interventions should be thoroughly examined in pilot wards only, and then stepwise introduced. A crucial feature of CPOE in combination with CDS is speed, since time consumption has been found to be a major factor determining failure. In the near future, the specificity of alerts will be improved, notifications will be prioritised and offer detailed advice, customisation of CDS will play an increasing role, and finally, CDS is heading for patient-centred decision support. The most important research question remains whether CDS is able to improve patient outcomes beyond processes.

Abstract

Clinical decision support (CDS) systems link patient data with an electronic knowledge base in order to improve decision-making and computerised physician order entry (CPOE) is a requirement to set up electronic CDS. The medical informatics literature suggests categorising CDS tools into medication dosing support, order facilitators, point-of-care alerts and reminders, relevant information display, expert systems and workflow support. To date, CDS has particularly been recognised for improving processes. CDS successfully fostered prevention of deep-vein thrombosis, improved adherence to guidelines, increased the use of vaccinations, and decreased the rate of serious medication errors. However, CDS may introduce errors, and therefore the term "e-iatrogenesis" has been proposed to address unintended consequences. At least two studies reported severe treatment delays due to CPOE and CDS. In addition, the phenomenon of "alert fatigue" - arising from a high number of CDS alerts of low clinical significance - may facilitate overriding of potentially critical notifications. The implementation of CDS needs to be carefully planned, CDS interventions should be thoroughly examined in pilot wards only, and then stepwise introduced. A crucial feature of CPOE in combination with CDS is speed, since time consumption has been found to be a major factor determining failure. In the near future, the specificity of alerts will be improved, notifications will be prioritised and offer detailed advice, customisation of CDS will play an increasing role, and finally, CDS is heading for patient-centred decision support. The most important research question remains whether CDS is able to improve patient outcomes beyond processes.

Citations

2 citations in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Medical Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:23 December 2014
Deposited On:24 Feb 2016 13:52
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 20:08
Publisher:EMH Swiss Medical Publishers
ISSN:0036-7672
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.4414/smw.2014.14073
PubMed ID:25668157

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