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KLAS Weighs User Experience to Rank Clinical Decision Support Vendors

According to a KLAS report, consumers want CDS vendors to boost solution usability through training, proactive support, and easy navigation while ensuring affordability.

Clinical decision support (CDS) vendors aim to improve healthcare delivery by enhancing medical decisions with targeted clinical knowledge. While its use has proven to improve clinical quality outcomes, CDS tools that lack strong content, searchability, and EMR integration are detrimental to the user experience, according to a recent KLAS insight report sent to journalists.

In the CDS Point-of-Care Reference 2022 report, KLAS interviewed CDS consumers between March 2022 and September 2022 to offer insight to organizations considering implementing CDS tools into their practice.

“CDS reference tools enable clinical users to follow standard treatment recommendations and more quickly and confidently make clinical decisions,” KLAS researchers wrote.

“However, tools that lack strong content, searchability, and EMR integration are not efficient for point-of-care workflows and can frustrate users, especially those already experiencing burnout.”

“Some CDS vendors are addressing user frustration and report their solutions have evolved to be more user friendly. To understand the customer experience and how each solution is being adopted, this report draws on feedback from a subset of clinical users (defined in this report as physicians, nurses, and pharmacists) as well as feedback from vendors’ general customer bases,” the report continued.

As consumers search for CDS tools to enhance user experience, market share leaderWolters Kluwer remains the top pick among large hospitals due to its broad, deep, and digestible evidence-based content.

Many interviewed consumers stated that Wolters Kluwer allows physicians and nurses to efficiently find needed information at the point of care, particularly when using the mobile functionality.

Pharmacists using Wolter Kluwer’s solutions stated it enabled medication verification and IV compatibility, and its functionality was said to be easier to use than Merative’s pharmacy-specific Micromedex Solution.

“I have yet to experience a situation where I haven’t been able to find the subject I want. . . . The vendor’s strength is not only the breadth of content but also the incredible host of people who write for Wolters Kluwer,” a physician consumer stated regarding Wolters Kluwer. “They have developed an incredible system. They have somebody who is an expert in a particular area, and that person recruits people to write particular chapters.”

Even though most of Wolters Kluwer’s consumer base reported high satisfaction, there are concerns about the high cost and contracting processes. Some consumers want to explore other health IT options but have a solid loyalty to the vendor solution.

Fellow health IT vendor EBSCO Information Services received high satisfaction for its DynaMed Solutions, with users emphasizing that it drives value and holds quality content.

Some EBSCO users stated that the company is responsive and willing to help when support is needed. However, the CDS tool does have issues, especially with solution adoption and integration.

According to the KLAS report, 16 percent of respondents plan to replace the EBSCO solution due to these concerns.

Some clinician users also reported low point-of-care adoption due to content gaps, leading them to use DynaMed Solutions with other CDS tools.

“To use DynaMed Solutions, I have to log in to the solution’s website rather than being able to launch the system from our EMR. EBSCO Information Services gives us a URL to get to the system, but I have to launch a different web browser,” a CMIO/physician stated.

Overall clinical users reported wanting greater training and proactive support from EBSCO to improve adoption. Additionally, these users want the vendor to bolster integration, mobile usability, and content depth.

Newer CDS vendor Merative, which acquired many IBM assets, received neutral satisfaction scores for its Micromedex Solutions, raising attention to the easy-to-use patient education content.

In general, Merative is utilized by pharmacists, who emphasize its extensive drug content and strong information regarding IV compatibility and pill/tablet identification.

“Non-pharmacist users (including some clinical users) also reference the drug content to verify information from other CDS solutions,” KLAS researchers wrote. “Despite the strong content, some pharmacists note that the system is outdated, and that navigating content isn’t always easy or quick. Pharmacists and non-clinical users mention that the Watson-enabled NLP functionality makes it easier for them to find what they need by retrieving content that is more relevant to their role or previous searches.”

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