Understanding Clinical Decision Support (CDS)

Under stage II of the meaningful use objectives, providers have to implement at least five CDS interventions in order to successfully complete attestation. The interventions should be linked to clinical quality measures and if none are applicable for a particular practice, the provider may implement CDS tools which monitor high priority health conditions such as cancer or diabetes. A greater understanding of the available CDS interventions can help providers to improve clinical outcomes and better manage patient health.

Most commonly, CDS interventions take the form of alerts – which most medical professionals are familiar with – such as those involving preventive measures, vaccination schedules or screening procedures. Nevertheless there are several other CDS implementations such as order sets, Virtual ICU technology etc. They can be classified into four categories:

  

1. Data-entry

Order sets and smart forms fall into this category. These interventions aim to help providers during the normal workflow of clinical documentation. Order sets are a collection of preformatted orders specific to a particular procedure which ensure that doctors do not overlook any necessary tests or medications. Smart forms or templates prompt providers during data entry for information specific to the patient or disease. For example, the EHR may require entry of blood sugar levels for a diabetic patient which is not present in the default template.

  

2. Data review

These tools enable nurses, doctors, therapists and other relevant specialists to review information on patients on an ongoing basis. Such tools can be used to monitor patients with chronic illnesses or those recovering from surgery. They are extremely helpful for long-term care enabling providers to intervene before minor conditions escalate into serious issues.

  

3. Data assessment

The objective of these tools is to enhance the understanding and knowledge level of both providers and patients when discussing medication or treatment plans. Info buttons are a good example within this category. Info buttons can be placed next to problem or medication/allergy lists. The button is linked to a verified source listing relevant data and expert opinion on the particular condition which can be used to explain pertinent treatment options to the patient.

  

4. Non-routine triggers

These tools are triggered under certain conditions which are outside the normal workflow. For example, an alert may be generated to indicate abnormal results in a diagnostic test or a reminder that a particular patient needs flu vaccinations.

The latest version of Dovetail dental software has the 2014 certification for meaningful use. As such, the software includes a comprehensive CDS toolkit enabling providers to easily attest for stage II of the program.

  

  

  

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