Effect of Evidence-based Clinical Decision Support on the Use and Yield of CT Pulmonary Angiographic Imaging in Hospitalized Patients

Radiology. 2015 Jul;276(1):167-74. doi: 10.1148/radiol.15141208. Epub 2015 Feb 13.


Purpose: To determine the effect of clinical decision support (CDS) on the use and yield of inpatient computed tomographic (CT) pulmonary angiography for acute pulmonary embolism (PE).

Materials and methods: This HIPAA-compliant, institutional review board-approved study with waiver of informed consent included all adults admitted to a 793-bed teaching hospital from April 1, 2007, to June 30, 2012. The CDS intervention, implemented after a baseline observation period, informed providers who placed an order for CT pulmonary angiographic imaging about the pretest probability of the study based on a validated decision rule. Use of CT pulmonary angiographic and admission data from administrative databases was obtained for this study. By using a validated natural language processing algorithm on radiology reports, each CT pulmonary angiographic examination was classified as positive or negative for acute PE. Primary outcome measure was monthly use of CT pulmonary angiography per 1000 admissions. Secondary outcome was CT pulmonary angiography yield (percentage of CT pulmonary angiographic examinations that were positive for acute PE). Linear trend analysis was used to assess for effect and trend differences in use and yield of CT pulmonary angiographic imaging before and after CDS.

Results: In 272 374 admissions over the study period, 5287 patients underwent 5892 CT pulmonary angiographic examinations. A 12.3% decrease in monthly use of CT pulmonary angiography (26.0 to 22.8 CT pulmonary angiographic examinations per 1000 admissions before and after CDS, respectively; P = .008) observed 1 month after CDS implementation was sustained over the ensuing 32-month period. There was a nonsignificant 16.3% increase in monthly yield of CT pulmonary angiography or percentage of CT pulmonary angiographic examinations positive for acute PE after CDS (P = .65).

Conclusion: Implementation of evidence-based CDS for inpatients was associated with a 12.3% immediate and sustained decrease in use of CT pulmonary angiographic examinations in the evaluation of inpatients for acute PE. for this article.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Angiography / methods*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*