Making CDS use more effective

Effective clinical decision support (CDS) must be rapid, easily applicable, and compatible with physician workflow, as its use will increase with the transition to the pay-for-performance model, according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

The use of CDS has become increasingly vital in clinical practice as the need for evidence-based decision making heightens. “The ideal CDS system would reduce health care costs, patient radiation exposures, and patient evaluation times without compromising health care standards or patient quality of life,” wrote authors Joshua S. Broder, MD, and Safwan S. Halabi, MD, of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, respectively. “It should be evidence-based, easy and rapid to use, and flexible, allowing physician judgment to override when clinical factors not considered by the support system exist.”

Additionally, the growing use of electronic health records offers the opportunity to eliminate redundant physician action by importing all necessary information from the CDS. Embedding the CDS into the ordering system is ideal, according to the authors.

“The shift from manual to electronic order entry for imaging studies provides an opportunity to transform imaging guidelines from a static reference to an interactive system that could provide real-time advice and recommendations to clinicians at the time of order entry,” wrote Broder and Halabi.

Consequently, health care providers and institutions that adopt CDS tools and utilize them in the most effective manner possible are more likely to benefit from government incentives and avoid penalties, argued the authors.

Importantly, this implementation will not only benefit providers. “Patients will also be empowered by CDS tools to help them stay informed about the various tests and treatments that are indicated for their health care needs. We are currently witnessing a paradigm shift of medicine from art to science; however, time and research will ultimately judge if those efforts lead to better quality of care and life for our patients,” they concluded.