Computerized decision support systems in primary care for type 2 diabetes patients only improve patients' outcomes when combined with feedback on performance and case management: a systematic review

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2013 Feb;15(2):180-92. doi: 10.1089/dia.2012.0201.


Purpose: Computerized decision support systems (CDSSs) are often part of a multifaceted intervention to improve diabetes care. We reviewed the effects of CDSSs alone or in combination with other supportive tools in primary care for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Materials and methods: A systematic literature search was conducted for January 1990-July 2011 in PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Database and by consulting reference lists. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in general practice were selected if the interventions consisted of a CDSS alone or combined with a reminder system and/or feedback on performance and/or case management. The intervention had to be compared with usual care. Two pairs of reviewers independently abstracted all available data. The data were categorized by process of care and patient outcome measures.

Results: Twenty RCTs met inclusion criteria. In 14 studies a CDSS was combined with another intervention. Two studies were left out of the analysis because of low quality. Four studies with a CDSS alone and four studies with a CDSS and reminders showed improvements of the process of care. CDSS with feedback on performance with or without reminders improved the process of care (one study) and patient outcome (two studies). CDSS with case management improved patient outcome (two studies). CDSS with reminders, feedback on performance, and case management improved both patient outcome and the process of care (two studies).

Conclusions: CDSSs used by healthcare providers in primary T2DM care are effective in improving the process of care; adding feedback on performance and/or case management may also improve patient outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical* / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Reminder Systems* / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Care