Docs using clinical decision support tools seen as less capable

Physicians who use their electronic health record's clinical decision support tools are viewed more negatively by patients, according to a study published this month in the journal Medical Decision Making.

The researchers, from the University of Missouri, conducted three separate experiments regarding patient perceptions of physician clinical decision support tool use. They found that patients viewed physicians who used the tools as less capable than those who made judgments without the computerized tool or who chose to consult a colleague. The patients whose physicians used the tools were more dissatisfied and may be more likely not to comply with treatment recommendations.

The researchers surmised that the patients may object to the impersonal technology and loss of face-to-face time, or generally distrust computing systems to replace clinical judgment.  

Interestingly, patients also were less likely to hold physicians responsible for negative health outcomes when the physicians used a clinical decision support tool.

Studies have shown that well-designed, targeted clinical decision support can improve outcomes, but that the tools can be difficult to use and incorporate into a provider's work.

"Given the effectiveness of CDSSs it is important to improve patient attitudes toward their use in the hopes that the decision support features of EMRs will be used more frequently," the study said.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- read the study