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Clinical Decision Support Improves Patient Clinical Outcomes

Clinical decision support tools have a significant impact on both clinician performance and patient outcomes for many diseases.

Clinical decision support (CDS) tools have positive impacts on patient clinical outcomes and clinician performance when dealing with most diseases, according to a study published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.

Research showed CDS alerts benefit usability, clinical guideline compliance, patient and clinician cooperation, EHR integration, and real-time prescription alerts.

CDS tools enable prescribers to access real-time patient data, ideally resulting in enhanced patient safety and medication accuracy. CDS tools can also alert prescribers about potential patient warnings to prevent errors and additional adverse drug events from happening.

CDS studies have proven its effectiveness on clinician performance, but the impact on patient outcomes impact is still undefined.

A 45-literature review study showed CDS alerts were effective for patient outcomes and clinician practice performance for many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. CDS was also beneficial for other healthcare cases, such as prescribing medications to patients.

For cardiovascular disease, CDS alerts had a positive impact on clinician performance and treatment improvement for anti-inflammatory and lipid-lowering drugs, study authors said. Short message alerts also had a positive impact on patient diet and medication prescribing.

“The system's user-friendliness environment and low running cost have resulted in its efficiency in the care delivery process,” explained the study authors.

For individuals with diabetes, short message alerts improved medication adherence and missed dosage, study authors wrote. Additionally, statin use and other diabetes problem areas improved with increased CDS use.

“The main reason for the effect of CDSS on improving patient adherence seems to be due to the fact that it raises patients’ awareness of taking medication,” explained the researchers.

CDS alerts immediately improved patient outcomes for individuals with hypertension.

Furthermore, CDS alerts had a positive impact on clinician performance when prescribing drugs for patients.

“The results of this study are consistent with the results of Curtis and Shah et al.’s study indicating that relevant CDS, while providing users with performance-related information, reduces patients' harms and errors, and increases physicians’ knowledge and skills,” the study authors explained.

“One of the main reasons for the proton pump's enhanced medication performance was the control of prescription drug dose by physicians as well as equipping pharmacies with CDSS with hard alerts which reduce costs and improve usability.”

However, researchers also found no significant difference between CDS alerts and patient outcomes for other diseases. CDS alerts had no impact on certain malaria patients nor some patients with increased blood potassium levels.

CDS alerts also had adverse effects on individuals who were taking multiple medications. In one example, four patients needed urgent treatment, but CDS alerts resulted in delayed drug treatment.

“We conclude that the unexpected findings of our review may be due to the lack of information about patients with serious infections who require immediate care and the lack of an efficient checklist monitoring the patients’ drug problems,” the research team explained.

Overall, CDS alerts proved positive for patient outcomes and clinician performance due to several factors, such as system user-friendliness, number of patients, and rate of clinical guidelines. However, CDS alerts had no significant impact on some diseases.

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