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What is Clinical Decision Support (CDS)?

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Clinical decision support systems are designed to improve health and healthcare delivery by enhancing health-related decisions and actions.

CDS does this by providing clinicians, staff, or patients with clinical knowledge and patient-specific information, which is intelligently filtered or presented at correct times. This helps them to make an informed decision quickly and to take action. A simple example would be a drug warning for a patient; if a doctor inputs a medication order for their patient a window would come up stating that the patient has a possible allergy to that type of drug.

CDS incorporates a variety of tools to help more effective decision-making in the clinical workflow. These tools include computerized alerts or reminders to care providers and patients; clinical guidelines; condition-specific order sets; patient data reports and summaries; documentation templates; diagnostic support, and contextually relevant reference information, plus many other tools.

Clinical Decision Support Systems are not intended to replace a clinician’s judgment, but rather to provide tools to assist care team members in making timely, informed, and higher quality decisions.

Why Use Clinical Decision Support Systems?

CDS has a number of important benefits, including:

  • Increased quality of care and improved health outcomes
  • Avoidance of errors and conflicting events
  • Improved efficiency in health care delivery
  • Reduce the risk of medication errors and misdiagnosis
  • Improved cost-benefit, patient safety, and provider and patient satisfaction