Best Practices in Clinical Decision Support: the Case of Preventive Care Reminders

Appl Clin Inform. 2010;1(3):331-345. doi: 10.4338/ACI-2010-05-RA-0031.


BACKGROUND: Evidence demonstrates that clinical decision support (CDS) is a powerful tool for improving healthcare quality and ensuring patient safety. However, implementing and maintaining effective decision support interventions presents multiple technical and organizational challenges. PURPOSE: To identify best practices for CDS, using the domain of preventive care reminders as an example. METHODS: We assembled a panel of experts in CDS and held a series of facilitated online and in-person discussions. We analyzed the results of these discussions using a grounded theory method to elicit themes and best practices. RESULTS: Eight best practice themes were identified as important: deliver CDS in the most appropriate ways, develop effective governance structures, consider use of incentives, be aware of workflow, keep content current, monitor and evaluate impact, maintain high quality data, and consider sharing content. Keys themes within each of these areas were also described. CONCLUSION: Successful implementation of CDS requires consideration of both technical and socio-technical factors. The themes identified in this study provide guidance on crucial factors that need consideration when CDS is implemented across healthcare settings. These best practice themes may be useful for developers, implementers, and users of decision support.