Clinical prediction rules: A systematic review of healthcare provider opinions and preferences

Int J Med Inform. 2019 Mar;123:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2018.12.003. Epub 2018 Dec 12.


Objective: The act of predicting clinical endpoints and patient trajectories based on past and current states is on the precipice of a technological revolution. This systematic review summarises the available evidence describing healthcare provider opinions and preferences with respect to the use of clinical prediction rules. The primary goal of this work is to inform the design and implementation of future systems, and secondarily to identify gaps for the development of clinician education programs.

Methods: Five databases were systematically searched in May 2016 for studies collecting empirical opinions of healthcare providers regarding clinical prediction rule usage. Reference lists were scanned for additional eligible materials and an update search was made in August 2017. Data was extracted on high-level study features, before in-depth thematic analysis was performed.

Results: 45 articles were identified from 9 countries. Most studies utilised surveys (28) or interviews (14). Fewer employed focus groups (9) or formal usability testing (4). Three high-level themes were identified, which form the basis of healthcare provider opinions of clinical prediction rules and their implementation - utility, credibility and usability.

Conclusions: Some of the objections and preferences stated by healthcare providers are inherent to the nature of the clinical problem addressed, which may or may not be within the designer's capacity to change; however, others (in particular - actionability, validation, integration and provision of high quality education materials) should be considered by prediction rule designers and implementation teams, in order to increase user acceptance and improve uptake of these tools. We summarise these findings across the clinical prediction rule lifecycle and pose questions for the rule developers, in order to produce tools that are more likely to successfully translate into clinical practice.

Keywords: Clinical prediction rules; Decision support; Health provider preferences.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Health Personnel / standards*
  • Humans