AHRQ Study Shows Clinical Decision Support Systems Are Effective But There is Limited Evidence Available on Impact
Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) are effective in improving health care process measures across diverse settings, but limited evidence is available about the impact on clinical and economic outcome measures, according to a new AHRQ study. The article, published in the April 24 online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, furthers current knowledge by demonstrating the benefits of CDSSs outside of academic centers. Authors assessed health care process measures and clinical outcome measures associated with commercially and locally developed CDSSs and suggested more research is required to promote widespread use of CDSSs and to increase their clinical effectiveness. This article expands on an AHRQ evidence report, Enabling Health Care Decisionmaking Through Health Information Technology, which discusses features key of successful implementation of CDSSs. Select to access the abstract on PubMed.®
Full Title: Enabling Health Care Decisionmaking Through Clinical Decision Support and Knowledge ManagementApril 2012
This evidence report is part of a three-report series focusing on the strategic goals of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ's) health information technology (Health IT) portfolio. This report specifically explores facilitating health care decisionmaking through Health IT. As the level of sophistication of electronic health records (EHRs) increases, the need for more sophisticated clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) and electronic knowledge management systems (KMSs) is imperative, as is the need for better operational use of these systems. The goals of this report are to summarize the available evidence related to CDSSs and KMSs, highlight the limitations of the evidence, and identify areas for future research.
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Structured AbstractObjectives: To catalogue study designs used to assess the clinical effectiveness of CDSSs and KMSs, to identify features that impact the success of CDSSs/KMSs, to document the impact of CDSSs/KMSs on outcomes, and to identify knowledge types that can be integrated into CDSSs/KMSs.
Data Sources: MEDLINE®, CINAHL®, PsycINFO®, and Web of Science®.
Review Methods: We included studies published in English from January 1976 through December 2010. After screening titles and abstracts, full-text versions of articles were reviewed by two independent reviewers. Included articles were abstracted to evidence tables by two reviewers. Meta-analyses were performed for seven domains in which sufficient studies with common outcomes were included.
Results: We identified 15,176 articles, from which 323 articles describing 311 unique studies including 160 reports on 148 randomized control trials (RCTs) were selected for inclusion. RCTs comprised 47.5 percent of the comparative studies on CDSSs/KMSs. Both commercially and locally developed CDSSs effectively improved health care process measures related to performing preventive services (n = 25; OR 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.27 to 1.58), ordering clinical studies (n = 20; OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.47 to 2.00), and prescribing therapies (n = 46; OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.35 to 1.82).
Fourteen CDSS/KMS features were assessed for correlation with success of CDSSs/KMSs across all endpoints. Meta-analyses identified six new success features:
Conclusions: Strong evidence shows that CDSSs/KMSs are effective in improving health care process measures across diverse settings using both commercially and locally developed systems. Evidence for the effectiveness of CDSSs on clinical outcomes and costs and KMSs on any outcomes is minimal. Nine features of CDSSs/KMSs that correlate with a successful impact of clinical decision support have been newly identified or confirmed.
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Current as of April 2012
Enabling Health Care Decisionmaking Through Clinical Decision Support and Knowledge Management, Structured Abstract. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/knowmgttp.htm