Clinical Decision Support

What are clinical decision support systems?

Medication safety and rational pharmacotherapy using specific disease and patient characteristics are central aspects in current healthcare practice. With increasing knowledge of different factors influencing pharmacotherapy, clinical decision support (CDS) systems  are becoming increasingly important as an aid to reach optimal outcomes for the individual patient. CDS can be defined as any system that provides clinical knowledge and intelligently filtered patient information to clinicians or patients for making clinical decisions at the point in time that these decisions have to be made.

What does this SIG stand for?

This SIG stimulates the further development of evidence-based CDS, and facilitates international exchange of existing knowledge. This is important because (1) the current CDS systems have important shortcomings, (2) technology and clinical research offer (continuously) new possibilities for signals, (3) implementation research studying facilitators and barriers is important with respect to actual healthcare related outcomes.

A well-known but still prominent example of one of the current shortcomings is that alert based CDS systems for drug-drug interaction and allergy screening have high alert override rates of more than 90%. A high number of low specificity alerts may lead to alert fatigue, where users become desensitized to the excessive number of alerts. The important consequence is that both clinically significant and insignificant alerts are overridden. There is an urgent need for developing novel methods to increase alert specificity and combat alert fatigue. Otherwise, medication related CDS systems will not be able to fulfill their potential to prevent medication errors and improve patient safety.

Other challenges need to be studied, such as the lack of standardization in CDS knowledge bases, more sophisticated techniques to include multiple characteristics, and implementation in specific settings. By creating this SIG, we can bring together experts from the field to start tackling these problems.

Who is chairing this SIG? 

The SIG was initiated by three enthusiastic experts in the field of CDS: Sander Borgsteede, Hanna Seidling and Pieter Cornu. Leadership will rotate every year.

During the first year Pieter Cornu is the SIG leader and Hanna Seidling the SIG vice-leader.

Who can participate?

All professionals interested in CDS systems in primary, secondary or tertiary care can participate in this SIG with the purpose to share existing knowledge, to support implementation and to initiate further development of decision support. It is not needed to work with an advanced CDS system to participate in this SIG.

Interested in Clinical Decision Support? Join the SIG

You are invited to join the SIG. If you want to be informed about future activities or if you are interested to join the SIG Clinical Decision Support, please send an e-mail to Pieter.Cornu@vub.be.

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