The Ultimate Guide: Clinical Decision Support & Patient Outcomes
Anyone would agree with us when we say that a positive patient outcome is one of the top priorities of every healthcare organization, right?
Patient outcome is the key feature to measure the performance, effectiveness, and efficiency of a medical practice or hospital. For achieving better patient outcomes better treatments and decision makings must be done from the side of the healthcare providers.
Clinical decision support tools in many studies proved to be associated with better patient outcomes in providing better care with lower mortality rates.
So, What Is Clinical Decision Support (CDS)?
According to HealthIT.gov, “clinical decision support (CDS) provides clinicians, staff, patients or other individuals with knowledge and person-specific information, intelligently filtered or presented at appropriate times, to enhance health and health care. CDS encompasses a variety of tools to enhance decision-making in the clinical workflow”.
These tools include computerized alerts and reminders to care providers and patients; clinical guidelines; condition-specific order sets; focused patient data reports and summaries; documentation templates; diagnostic support, and contextually relevant reference information, among other tools.
Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) help clinicians in their complex decision-making processes. This tool is an important component of electronic health records (EHR). It at first hand can improve patient care outcomes and healthcare organizational performances.
Now, Why Clinical Decision Support (CDS)?
Researchers found that the use of the clinical support tool resulted in more appropriate antibiotic use, lowering the average time between emergency department admission and the start of antibiotics.
Clinical decision support (CDS) can impact improvements in safety, quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of healthcare, significantly. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) supports efforts to develop, adopt, implement, and evaluate the use of CDS to improve health care decision-making.
While making critical decisions about patients’ health, the development and use of clinical decision support (CDS) tools provide physicians and clinicians the capacity to examine and work with patient data instantaneously.
These tools will be very important when “patient care outcomes-related” changes in financial reimbursements start to be in primary focus by many insurance-related organizations.
Types of Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS)
Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) are most often classified into two.
- Knowledge-based: Studies say, in knowledge-based systems, rules (IF-THEN statements) are created, with the system retrieving data to evaluate the rule, and producing an action or output. Rules can be made using literature-based, practice-based, or patient-directed evidence.
- Non-knowledge based: Require a data source, but the decision leverages artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), or statistical pattern recognition, rather than being programmed to follow expert medical knowledge.
CDSS And The Areas Of Application
Dealing with a large quantity of information is sometimes dangerous even for computerized tools. Imagine how it would be for the human brain, which is prone to errors, in a high-stress hospital environment.
So for avoiding such errors in such threatening situations, the usage of tools like CDSS helps the hospitals from dangers and uncertainties. These computerized systems can shift through tons of data and do ‘n’ number of comparisons between data to downsize the number of possible decisions. The areas in which CDSS can be applied are given below.
- Drug selection
- Cost containment
- Diagnostic support
- Appropriate use criteria (AUC) for Medicare patients
- Clinical management
Benefits And Advantages Of Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS)
1. Patient Safety
CDSS is commonly used in strategies to reduce clinical errors. CDS systems are now designed with drug safety software that has safeguards for dosing, duplication of therapies, and drug-drug interactions (DDI) checking. They generate different types of alerts which are publicly well-known kinds of decision-support.
The US Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has developed a list of ‘high-priority’ list of DDIs for CDS, which has reached various levels of endorsement and deployment in CDSS of other countries including the U.K., Belgium, and Korea.
2. Restriction in cost
Through clinical interventions, CDSS can be cost-effective for healthcare systems. This decreases the in-patient admission period. Computerized provider order entry (CPOE)-integrated systems suggest cheaper medication alternatives or reduction in test duplication.
Clinical decision support systems can pinpoint the alternative drugs which are cheaper than the prescribed ones, to the user. This could switch medication consultations automatically, without errors, resulting in reduced workload and increased safety, thus reducing cost for providers.
Want to know how to select an EHR based on the cost? Read our EHR Software Cost: How To Set Your Budget?
3. Clinical management
Many studies have shown that the CDSS can create compliance with clinical guidelines. With low clinical compliance, the traditional clinical guidelines and care ways are difficult to implement in practices. That is why CDSS is most significant.
CDSS alerts clinicians to contact and reach out to patients who are due for follow-ups, and who have not followed management strategies. It also helps in identifying patients who are eligible for research on specific criteria.
4. Shared decision support with patients
CDS functionalities have been integrated, like EHRs, with the arrival of Personal Health Records (PHR). This has made the patients the “manager” of the data. CDS-supported PHRs are the best tool to utilize shared decision-making between the provider and the patient.
CDSS removes the lack of information barrier which stands between patients and their participation in their care.
Check out our EHR Vendor Selection Checklist For 2022 (New)to get an idea before choosing an EHR for your practice.
Clinical decision support is an essential and important part of every electronic health record (EHR). CDSS must be put into use by every practice for efficient functioning and for increasing better patient outcomes.
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