What Is Clinical Decision Support?
Clinical decision support (CDS) is a key process for enhancing health-related decisions and actions with pertinent, organized clinical knowledge and patient information to improve health and healthcare delivery.1 CDS tools provide clinicians, staff, patients, and others on the continuum of care with knowledge and patient-specific information in the right place and format, and at the right time to help enhance and improve health and healthcare outcomes.
Types of CDS
CDS can appear in a variety of formats, including:
- Medication alerts
- Best practice notifications
- Health maintenance reminders
- Order sets
- Documentation templates
- Reference information
The Five “Rights” of CDS1
The five rights concept is a best practice framework. To be most beneficial, CDS must provide2:
- The right information (e.g., evidence-based guidance)
- To the right people (i.e., clinical care team—including the patient)
- Through the right channels (e.g., electronic health records, patient portal, other means)
- In the right intervention format (e.g., prompts, order sets, alerts)
- At the right points in the workflow (i.e., for decision-making or action)
Passive Prompts vs. Clinical Alerts
Passive prompts can provide situational awareness to the clinician without interrupting the workflow. Passive prompts visually provide CDS to a clinician with a subtle visual cue such as a small flag, bolded exclamation point, or highlighted text.
Clinical alerts can be interruptive and should be used sparingly. Clinical alerts visually pop up on the screen immediately to alert the clinician that information must be reviewed before completing a patient appointment.
1. Osheroff J, Teich J, Levick D, Saldana L, Velasco F, Sittig D, Rogers K, Jenders R. Improving Outcomes with Clinical Decision Support: An Implementer’s Guide, Second Edition. Boca Raton, FL.: HIMSS Publishing; 2012
2. Osheroff J, Teich J, Levick D, Saldana L, Velasco F, Sittig D, Rogers K, Jenders R. Improving Outcomes with Clinical Decision Support: An Implementer’s Guide, Second Edition. Boca Raton, FL.: HIMSS Publishing; 2012
3. Clinical Decision Support: More Than Just ‘Alerts’ Tipsheet. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/regulations-and-guidance/legislation/EHRincentiveprograms/downloads/clinicaldecisionsupport_tipsheet-.pdf