Quick Hitting Thoughts on CDS (Clinical Decision Support)

I’m finally starting to go through all my notes from HIMSS. Part of that is because I’ve been busy after HIMSS. Part of it is because I like to recover from what I call the #HIMSSHaze. Part of it is that I like to see what still resonates a few weeks after HIMSS.

With that in mind, I was struck by a number of quick hitting comments that I noted from my interview with Dr. Peter Edelstein, CMO at Elsevier. Dr. Edelstein is a fascinating guy that I’ll have to have on a future Healthcare Scene interview. In the meantime, here are some of the quick hitting thoughts he shared about CDS (Clinical Decision Support).

One key point he made is that it seemed like many organizations didn’t have a strategy for CDS. He also aptly pointed out that the same seemed to apply to big data. I agree with him wholeheartedly. If we were to go to a healthcare organization and ask them their CDS strategy I don’t think most of them would have an answer. I think if we dug in, we’d probably find that most of them have essentially deferred their CDS strategy to their EHR vendor. Does anyone else feel like this is a problem?

When I asked Dr. Edelstein what would be his suggested strategy on adopting CDS, he suggested that he’d want to make sure that the CDS solution worked across all provider types. Next he compared the pull CDS solutions (Reference resources, etc) to wearing seat belts in a car and the push CDS solutions (Order sets, care plans, etc) to an airbag in a car. While we certainly need both sets of solutions, he suggested that we should make more of an effort to get the push CDS solutions implemented in healthcare.

I thought the analogy was a great way to look at the various types of CDS solutions. Plus, I agree that we need more push solutions in healthcare. The pull solutions are necessary for some of the most challenging problems, but we all know that when a doctor is busily going about their day they often choose not to check with the pull solutions when they should. The push solutions can be integrated into their workflow so that providers can more easily address any potential issues from within the flow of their day.

Dr. Eldestein also pointed out that Wikipedia is still the most commonly used reference resource despite many studies which have illustrated the medical errors that exist on it. Why do they use it? It’s because it’s simple to use and easily accessible. This is a great illustration of why we need the right CDS information to be more easily available to the doctor at the point of care at the moment they need it.

Definitely some great insights into CDS. What’s great about CDS is that at this point pretty much everyone is using some form of CDS. We’re also seeing CDS integrated more deeply into EHR software. I expect this trend will continue and will become much more sophisticated.

It does beg the question, what’s your healthcare organization’s CDS strategy?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

3 Comments

  • To expand on this post, John, you may want to consider the limitations on current CDS and the hope that precision medicine may improve its accuracy. As I’ve said in another article, I think too much money is being poured into the genomics side of precision medicine, even though there are few current benefits (will be more in the future) and that we need more information on the behavior of, and environmental effects on, individual patients.

  • Andy,
    Yes, I’ve been interested in that disconnect with the word Precision Medicine also. I think more and more people are coming around to including the other factors.

  • John, thanks for sharing Dr. Peter Edelstein’s insights on CDS. His comment about including the ‘whole care team’ resonated with me. My work in CARE PLANNING involves the whole care team and since we patients are not the same, as Andy mentions with his reference to precision medicine, it is important that the care plans allow for individualization. Happy Spring to you both!

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