Assessing the use of a clinical decision support tool for pain management in primary care

JAMIA Open. 2022 Sep 15;5(3):ooac074. doi: 10.1093/jamiaopen/ooac074. eCollection 2022 Oct.


Objective: Given time constraints, poorly organized information, and complex patients, primary care providers (PCPs) can benefit from clinical decision support (CDS) tools that aggregate and synthesize problem-specific patient information. First, this article describes the design and functionality of a CDS tool for chronic noncancer pain in primary care. Second, we report on the retrospective analysis of real-world usage of the tool in the context of a pragmatic trial.

Materials and methods: The tool known as OneSheet was developed using user-centered principles and built in the Epic electronic health record (EHR) of 2 health systems. For each relevant patient, OneSheet presents pertinent information in a single EHR view to assist PCPs in completing guideline-recommended opioid risk mitigation tasks, review previous and current patient treatments, view patient-reported pain, physical function, and pain-related goals.

Results: Overall, 69 PCPs accessed OneSheet 2411 times (since November 2020). PCP use of OneSheet varied significantly by provider and was highly skewed (site 1: median accesses per provider: 17 [interquartile range (IQR) 9-32]; site 2: median: 8 [IQR 5-16]). Seven "power users" accounted for 70% of the overall access instances across both sites. OneSheet has been accessed an average of 20 times weekly between the 2 sites.

Discussion: Modest OneSheet use was observed relative to the number of eligible patients seen with chronic pain.

Conclusions: Organizations implementing CDS tools are likely to see considerable provider-level variation in usage, suggesting that CDS tools may vary in their utility across PCPs, even for the same condition, because of differences in provider and care team workflows.

Keywords: chronic pain; clinical decision support tool; primary care.