Clinical Decision Support Systems & Tools
Author:Lakshmi Karthigeyan, Prabhu Murugesan, and Senthil Prabhu Natarajan
CDSS is defined as “a system that provides clinicians, staff, patients and other individuals with knowledge and person-specific information, intelligently filtered and presented at appropriate times, to enhance health and health care.”
By the definition, there are three key components that form a CDSS – Knowledge, Intelligent filters and Presentation.
CDSS has been a hot topic over the years, yet health organizations are finding it difficult to implement a successful CDSS of high quality. There are multi-fold challenges in getting a successful CDSS implemented. These can be broadly classified as clinical and technical challenges, implementation barriers, high maintenance, and evaluation issues.
Though there are challenges and problem areas, the value that clinical decision support software brings to clinicians, patients, medical staffs and health organizations is immense and proven. Hence, health organizations around the globe are under pressure to implement CDSS to improve quality of care and thereby improve patient satisfaction, to adhere to regulatory compliance (i.e., ACO, HIPAA, Meaningful Use, JCAHO), to reduce costs and, finally, to attract and maintain medical staff.
This white paper explores various aspects of CDSS, discusses the benefits and value, analyzes the challenge areas and discusses some of the possible solutions that CSC could offer to overcome these, thus providing value to the healthcare community.
CDSS has been the buzz word for years amongst the healthcare IT community and for some of the visionary clinicians and medical community. With almost every hospital now having an Electronic Patient Records (EPR), Clinical Information Systems (CIS) or Hospital Information Systems (HIS), the importance of clinical decision support tools has grown tremendously and is growing constantly.
CDSS has more than one definition provided by qualified professionals, institutes and non-profit standards-based organizations. To list a few:
- Wikipedia – “Clinical decision support system (CDSS) is an interactive decision support system (DSS) Computer Software, which is designed to assist physicians and other health professionals with decision making tasks, such as determining diagnosis of patient data”
- Dr. Robert Hayward, Centre of Health Evidence – "Clinical Decision Support systems link health observations with health knowledge to influence health choices by clinicians for improved health care”
- HL7 (Health Level Seven International) – “The act of providing clinicians, patients and other healthcare stakeholders with pertinent knowledge and/or person-specific information intelligently filtered or presented at appropriate times, to enhance health and health care”
- HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) – “CDSS is a process for enhancing health-related decisions and actions with pertinent organized clinical knowledge and patient information to improve health and healthcare delivery"
The core of all these definitions is that a clinical decision support system is meant to provide specific information or knowledge for the users at appropriate times to support or enhance the decision-making process. CDSS doesn’t make decisions. It only provides guidance or a reference relating to the appropriate context.
Download the full Paper, Clinical Decision Support Systems (PDF) to continue reading.