Objective: To describe the activities performed by people involved in clinical decision support (CDS) at leading sites.
Materials and methods: We conducted ethnographic observations at seven diverse sites with a history of excellence in CDS using the Rapid Assessment Process and analyzed the data using a series of card sorts, informed by Linstone's Multiple Perspectives Model.
Results: We identified 18 activities and grouped them into four areas. Area 1: Fostering relationships across the organization, with activities (a) training and support, (b) visibility/presence on the floor, (c) liaising between people, (d) administration and leadership, (e) project management, (f) cheerleading/buy-in/sponsorship, (g) preparing for CDS implementation. Area 2: Assembling the system with activities (a) providing technical support, (b) CDS content development, (c) purchasing products from vendors (d) knowledge management, (e) system integration. Area 3: Using CDS to achieve the organization's goals with activities (a) reporting, (b) requirements-gathering/specifications, (c) monitoring CDS, (d) linking CDS to goals, (e) managing data. Area 4: Participation in external policy and standards activities (this area consists of only a single activity). We also identified a set of recommendations associated with these 18 activities.
Discussion: All 18 activities we identified were performed at all sites, although the way they were organized into roles differed substantially. We consider these activities critical to the success of a CDS program.
Conclusions: A series of activities are performed by sites strong in CDS, and sites adopting CDS should ensure they incorporate these activities into their efforts.
Keywords: clinical decision support; governance; implementation; knowledge management; rapid assessment process.