Docs still learning to make CDS work for them

Healthcare organizations continue to work to integrate clinical decision support systems into clinical workflow, and to overcome distaste for what many refer to as "cookbook medicine," according to physician technologist Joseph Kim.

While some systems are integrated seamlessly into electronic health records, others produce an array of alerts and wind up being useless because providers ignore them, Kim pointed out in a recent post to SearchHealthIT.

Through a recently launched $11 million initiative--"Accelerating Change in Medical Education"--the American Medical Association aims to develop innovative ways to educate physicians who feel more comfortable using tech tools such as CDS at the point of care, according to Kim. They also will be able to better advise vendors on how to improve those tools.

As CDS becomes more prevalent, physicians need to learn how to use the systems more effectively so that they are not merely a distraction and annoyance, Kim said.

Providers, overall, are suffering from alert overload. For instance, in a study published last fall of 2 million CDS alerts relating to prescriptions, providers chose to override roughly half of them--and only about half of those overrides were appropriate.

To that end, clinical decision support reference tools lack the level of integration necessary to provide the strategic direction that providers need, a January report from Orem, Utah-based research firm KLAS concluded.

Additionally, research published in December in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making found little evidence that CDS tools in EHRs reduce inpatient costs.

"Significantly more research is required on the impact of clinical decision support on inpatient costs," the researchers of that study concluded. "In particular, there is a remarkable gap in the availability of cost effectiveness studies required by policy makers and decision makers in healthcare systems."

To learn more:
- read Kim's post to SearchHealthIT
- learn about the "Accelerating Change" initiative