Healthcare News & Insights

Clinical decision support tops health IT wish list

More organizations are installing clinical decision support (CDS) tools to help doctors treat patients — and most that are using CDS tools are finding their investments have paid off quickly. 

CDS systems are the highest priority for health IT purchases over the next year, according to a recent survey of 1,300 health IT leaders conducted by research firm Black Book Rankings. Those tools compile and analyze medical data to help doctors determine diagnoses and treatments and avoid dangerous complications.

One factor driving increased CDS adoption is the move toward accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to Black Book. All of the survey respondents representing ACOs said they required adoption of evidence-based clinical decision support systems before their operations began.

However, just 16% of the providers surveyed said they currently use the clinical decision support tools necessary to meet the data needs created by the move toward an ACO.

That should change soon, though, as the vast majority (84%) of organizations without CDS systems in place plan to acquire at least one clinical analytics tool within the next 12 months.

Providers currently using clinical decision support systems are happy with their investments. Among respondents with CDS systems currently in place:

  • 89% said they use those tools to prevent medical errors
  • 79% achieved cost savings by performing analytics-driven patient care, and
  • 69% have seen improvements in overall patient health.

What advice does the survey have for providers shopping for a CDS system? One takeaway is that organizations shouldn’t expect an EHR vendor to meet their clinical analytics needs. In a 2009 survey, 88% said their EHR vendor would do so, but in this year’s survey, that number dropped to less than 10%.

Also, experienced providers recommend looking for a system that can be installed with minimal disruption to regular operations. Among the respondents with CDS tools in place, 93% advocated for systems that wouldn’t disrupt current clinical workflows.

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