Background: Electronic health records are central to cancer care delivery. Electronic clinical decision support (CDS) systems can potentially improve cancer care quality and safety. However, little is known regarding the use of CDS systems in clinical oncology and their impact on patient outcomes.
Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed studies was performed to evaluate clinically relevant outcomes related to the use of CDS tools for the diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care of patients with cancer. Peer-reviewed studies published from 1995 through 2016 were included if they assessed clinical outcomes, patient-reported outcomes (PROs), costs, or care delivery process measures.
Results: Electronic database searches yielded 2,439 potentially eligible papers, with 24 studies included after final review. Most studies used an uncontrolled, pre-post intervention design. A total of 23 studies reported improvement in key study outcomes with use of oncology CDS systems, and 12 studies assessing the systems for computerized chemotherapy order entry demonstrated reductions in prescribing error rates, medication-related safety events, and workflow interruptions. The remaining studies examined oncology clinical pathways, guideline adherence, systems for collection and communication of PROs, and prescriber alerts.
Conclusions: There is a paucity of data evaluating clinically relevant outcomes of CDS system implementation in oncology care. Currently available data suggest that these systems can have a positive impact on the quality of cancer care delivery. However, there is a critical need to rigorously evaluate CDS systems in oncology to better understand how they can be implemented to improve patient outcomes.