43% of Orgs Use Clinical Decision Support for Patient Safety (HealthIT Analytics)
Clinical Decision Support (CDS) tools are a great way to improve patient safety in your practice. There are a number of benefits to utilizing this technology in improving health outcomes. Let’s explore some of them now.
Clinical Decision Support essentially provides clinicians with a technological double check as they perform the challenging work of accurately assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients. As such, the benefits from using this technology are many, including:
- A reduction in misdiagnoses:
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, it is estimated that 10-30% of medical errors are errors in diagnosis. There are many factors that can cause a misdiagnosis from provider bias to uncommon and rare diseases. Sometimes it can be as simple as the provider making an error in thinking and judgement. Misdiagnosis presents a huge problem as an illness cannot be adequately treated until it is accurately identified. The use of CDS tools can greatly reduce these errors, allowing for a better health outcome for patients.
- A reduction in medication errors:
Deciding on the best course of medication to treat a patient’s condition is a daunting task. Medication becomes even more difficult when dealing with complex populations such as infants and children. Dosing can be complicated to calculate. The variety of formulas needed to make accurate calculations make having this information available at top of mind particularly difficult. Clinical Decision Support provides physicians with quick access to dosing calculators, drug monographs, weights, diseases, etc. This makes it much more likely that the appropriate medication at the correct dose will be provided the first time.
- A compilation of relevant information in one place at the entire care team’s fingertips:
The concept of physicians double-checking their assessments with the use of evidence-based knowledge is nothing new. However, the ability to have this information readily available to a provider and the entire care team working on a patient’s case increases the efficiency of this task. By turning to CDS, clinicians can be confident that they are always receiving consistent, reliable information that is relevant to their specific patient. The information provided helps them in making an accurate diagnosis, all without having to spend a great deal of time on research.
- Improve efficiency:
The task of assessing a patient, making a diagnosis, and deciding on a treatment plan can often be a complex one. This task requires a great deal of thought and, in some particularly complex cases, time. Additionally, when mistakes in diagnosis are made, valuable time and resources are wasted. It’s estimated by the Institute of Medicine that between 17 and 29 billion dollars annually is spent on inaccurate or unnecessary care as the result of misdiagnosis. This not only negatively effects the patient’s health outcome, it also negatively effects the efficiency of the provider and the practice’s bottom line. By utilizing Clinical Decision Support, physicians have a greater chance of avoiding these kind of missteps. The ability to consistently double check themselves with quality, evidence-based information drastically reduces error. This solves a great deal of problems before they even occur.
Clinical Decision Support doesn’t replace the education, judgement, or intuition of a quality physician. However, it does enhance these qualities by presenting additional information to busy and often tired providers as they navigate the most difficult portion of their jobs. This is an enormous benefit.