Clinical decision support tools top hospital IT leaders' wish lists

Clinical decision support (CDS) will be the highest priority for hospital IT leaders--particularly those in developing accountable care organizations--over the next 12 months, according to the results of a new survey by Black Book Rankings. Just 16 percent of hospital leader respondents said their facilities have the CDS tools they need for accountable care.

Smaller community hospitals with less than 200 beds will comprise the biggest market for CDS vendors in the next 12 months, Douglas Brown, a senior partner who helped with the survey, said in an announcement. According to the survey, more than four-fifths of provider organizations lacking CDS systems plan to acquire at least one clinical analytics tool in that time span.

Leaders at those organizations realize, however, that as more providers look to improve their CDS capabilities, clinical informaticists capable of handling the work eventually will be hard to come by. Case in point, while 89 percent of responding organization leaders who plan on acquiring CDS systems also said they plan to add to their IT employee rosters, 97 percent said they foresee a shortage in qualified candidates to fill those positions.

A study published in June in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that clinical decision support at community hospitals likely will be successful based on survey results from 34 such hospitals that adopted the technology over the past five years.

"Nearly all hospitals had developed a level of sophistication that appeared similar to that of the relatively highly regarded [Veterans Affairs] system" the researchers in charge of the JAMA survey said. "This finding bodes well for hospitals of all sizes and types … that are striving toward meeting the increasingly difficult Meaningful Use requirements."

Interestingly, although 88 percent of provider organization respondents to the 2009 Black Book electronic health record user survey said they believed their EHR vendor would be able to handle their CDS needs, less than 10 percent of respondents to the 2012 survey think their EHR system will be capable of handling such a workload.

To learn more:
- here's the Black Book Rankings announcement