The art of clinical decision support: The right decision at the right time can save lives - MedCity News

Decision making is a fundamental function in any business. In healthcare, it is even more so, as each decision can determine the type and quality of care. There is increasing demand for quality care by using technologies in line with market trends. The global market for clinical decision support systems was valued at USD 4.48 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.4% from 2022 to 2030.

The American Patient Care Study, published in 2016, examined mortality data for eight consecutive years. The researchers found that based on a total of 35,416,020 hospitalizations, an overall incidence rate of 251,454 deaths per year — or about 9.5 percent of all deaths — resulted from medical error. Clinical decision making is critical to ensuring the right care for patients at the right time and can they end up saving lives.

Here are 4 reasons why clinical decision support should be considered:

Improve the quality of care

About $30 billion is spent annually on improper care due to misdiagnosis. Integrating a clinical decision support system can enable clinicians to make accurate dosing decisions, order the right tests, and make the right referrals to reduce patient healthcare costs, reduce physician burnout, and in ultimately to provide high quality care at the right time. Clinical decision support systems are the most effective when integrated into provider and clinic workflows.

Significant reduction in medication errors

Lack of accurate drug dosages has led to poor quality of care, especially in emergency departments. Determining the correct dosage, which involves complex calculation and memorizing the specificity of the drug, can be difficult, especially in emergency situations. Giving clinicians access to specific drug dosage calculators and complete drug monographs with age, weight, and disease can allow them to reduce medication errors and give the right amount of drug. Building this into a clinical workflow would make this process seamless and efficient.

Reliable information at the point of care

Providers are equipped with sufficient knowledge and experience, so a platform leveraged with evidence-based knowledge at the point of care can empower them to make the right decision at the right time, especially in critical care. This process is time-consuming and confusing if providers are expected to search the Internet or get second and third opinions from other doctors. It may be less accurate for the subject at hand, ultimately taxing our healthcare system and not providing exceptional and quality care to our population.

Accurate lab orders

Integrating a clinical decision support system to track laboratory orders placed by vendors against industry benchmark clinical laboratory standards reduces variation in care and improves order accuracy. CDS will alert providers if they are in compliance with standards and deviating from appropriate care. Integrating this into providers’ workflow would lead to reduced care, higher healthcare costs, clinician burnout, and improved patient outcomes.

One stop data shop

Accessing medical resources for reference can be tedious, and most of these resources are not updated. An electronic system in which all these resources are validated and updated frequently enables physicians to focus on the latest treatment and provide appropriate, high-value care. This system is purely a methodology to supplement the skill set and knowledge of the physician, not a substitute.

To err is human. But a mistake in healthcare can cost lives. Clinical decision support is to complement our hardworking healthcare workers. Integrating them into workflows can save lives.

Photo: ra2studio, Getty Images

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