Feds look to fund clinical decision support ‘learning network’

If HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) gets its latest clinical decision support (CDS) initiative up and funded, all sorts of stakeholders will be regularly tapping into patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR)—and a new bite of alphabet soup will be everyday language for healthcare providers.

The PCOR CDS Learning Network will have three primary objectives:

  • “Engage clinicians, patients, professional associations, health IT developers and other stakeholders who can help promote the incorporation of PCOR findings into clinical practice through CDS;
  • “Identify barriers and facilitators to the use of CDS as a means to disseminate and to implement PCOR findings in clinical practice; and
  • “Provide consensus-based recommendations to the field of CDS developers, CDS implementers, and other stakeholders about CDS design and implementation best practices.”

That’s from a grant notice HHS posted July 9, and the goals are consistent with the “CDS 5 Rights” that were introduced in two books by nongovernmental authors several years ago and have been percolating in healthcare IT circles and beyond ever since. These call for all CDS deployments to provide the right information to the right people in the right intervention formats through the right channels at the right points in workflow.

Earlier this year, at the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a recurring theme was defending CDS against critics who have dismissed early iterations as little more than annoying and unhelpful alert systems.

HHS’s move, which would perhaps inadvertently build on this momentum, comes just a month after committees in both chambers of Congress proposed drastically cutting AHRQ funding. In the House, a panel approved a measure that would give more money to NIH at the expense of killing AHRQ altogether.