Governance for clinical decision support: Case studies and recommended practices from leading institutions

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (Impact Factor: 3.5). 03/2011; 18(2):187-94. DOI: 10.1136/jamia.2009.002030
Source: PubMed


Clinical decision support (CDS) is a powerful tool for improving healthcare quality and ensuring patient safety; however, effective implementation of CDS requires effective clinical and technical governance structures. The authors sought to determine the range and variety of these governance structures and identify a set of recommended practices through observational study.
Three site visits were conducted at institutions across the USA to learn about CDS capabilities and processes from clinical, technical, and organizational perspectives. Based on the results of these visits, written questionnaires were sent to the three institutions visited and two additional sites. Together, these five organizations encompass a variety of academic and community hospitals as well as small and large ambulatory practices. These organizations use both commercially available and internally developed clinical information systems.
Characteristics of clinical information systems and CDS systems used at each site as well as governance structures and content management approaches were identified through extensive field interviews and follow-up surveys.
Six recommended practices were identified in the area of governance, and four were identified in the area of content management. Key similarities and differences between the organizations studied were also highlighted.
Each of the five sites studied contributed to the recommended practices presented in this paper for CDS governance. Since these strategies appear to be useful at a diverse range of institutions, they should be considered by any future implementers of decision support.

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    • "Other institutions may purchase such rules directly from a vendor and install them in their local information system [38]. With either approach, institutions are challenged by constrained resources and substantial expenses if they seek to continue maintaining and expanding their own decision support infrastructure [24,26,38-40]. "
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    • "In the specific case of CDS, the use of alerts has great potential to improve care, but should be used judiciously and in the appropriate environment [11,14,20,26,30]. The intervention implemented at LVHN to reduce unnecessary testing was effective because: 1) It alerted physicians that further BNP testing is potentially misleading; 2) It addressed an information failure associated with the EMR (previous episode of care results were not visible once results were posted) and; 3) The intervention was implemented and evaluated in the context of an advanced [11] CPOE system facilitating this cycle of implementation and evaluation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background We describe and evaluate the development and use of a Clinical Decision Support (CDS) intervention; an alert, in response to an identified medical error of overuse of a diagnostic laboratory test in a Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system. CPOE with embedded CDS has been shown to improve quality of care and reduce medical errors. CPOE can also improve resource utilization through more appropriate use of laboratory tests and diagnostic studies. Observational studies are necessary in order to understand how these technologies can be successfully employed by healthcare providers. Methods The error was identified by the Test Utilization Committee (TUC) in September, 2008 when they noticed critical care patients were being tested daily, and sometimes twice daily, for B-Type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP). Repeat and/or serial BNP testing is inappropriate for guiding the management of heart failure and may be clinically misleading. The CDS intervention consists of an expert rule that searches the system for a BNP lab value on the patient. If there is a value and the value is within the current hospital stay, an advisory is displayed to the ordering clinician. In order to isolate the impact of this intervention on unnecessary BNP testing we applied multiple regression analysis to the sample of 41,306 patient admissions with at least one BNP test at LVHN between January, 2008 and September, 2011. Results Our regression results suggest the CDS intervention reduced BNP orders by 21% relative to the mean. The financial impact of the rule was also significant. Multiplying by the direct supply cost of $28.04 per test, the intervention saved approximately $92,000 per year. Conclusions The use of alerts has great positive potential to improve care, but should be used judiciously and in the appropriate environment. While these savings may not be generalizable to other interventions, the experience at LVHN suggests that appropriately designed and carefully implemented CDS interventions can have a substantial impact on the efficiency of care provision.
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