African-american clinician meeting with patients

Innovations in Clinical Decision Support

Remember family road trips long ago and when you would have to buy a large map in order to plan your route? Inevitably, parents everywhere would have to pull over the car, open up the map completely, and argue with everyone in the car over whether they missed the turn.

Tools like MapQuest changed everyone’s lives. When MapQuest first came on the scene, you could print out the instructions step by step and ditch the cumbersome, overly complicated map. Now, GPS devices and apps can tell you how long it will take to arrive at your destination and can offer alternative routes in order to avoid accidents or construction—all from a smartphone.

If clinicians had GPS to help them recommend treatment for patients, it would be a clinical decision support (CDS) solution. For our Clinical Decision Support 2020 report the research focus was aimed to identify and validate innovations in the CDS landscape to update our previous data. Our goals were to find out where innovations are being made by solution providers and what makes these innovations unique in the eyes of healthcare organizations. Is there a fun, exciting, and engaging future in CDS? Or has the space continued to be the same as it used to be?

Improved Solutions

Healthcare provider organizations confirmed that CDS solutions have grown and improved since they first came onto the scene. CDS solutions are improving clinical outcomes by helping caregivers make better decisions in real time. With CDS, clinicians now have actual information in front of them, guiding them, so that they can do what is best for their patients in real time.

In our recently published report, all the healthcare providers with advanced/progressive CDS solutions employed at their organizations relayed back to us that they have seen improved clinical outcomes and decreased costs by using their CDS tools. We also learned that through their CDS tools, they are able to minimize alert fatigue by getting alerted only for things that are of actual concern for their patients and their current workflow—allowing clinicians to focus on their first job as a caregiver.

Achieved Outcomes

highlighted outcomes resulting from vendors innovations as reported by customers

The personable and delicate nature of patient care and individual health needs makes healthcare a nuanced and discernibly unique industry. Clinical outcomes and progress are often likewise individual in nature and not easy to achieve. Still, as you can see in the chart above, advanced healthcare organizations validated in our research have reported impactful outcomes related to patient care, including:

  • ensuring that clinical trials show up as clinicians meet with patients
  • ensuring that clinicians are receiving order plans that match up with what insurance companies will authorize
  • following the best mode of treatment for patients and saving on costs
  • knowing when a patient is starting to decline before he or she actually declines

Exciting Application

The future holds promise. While this research focused on progressive organizations, the prospect is bright for other healthcare organizations to follow suit and see similar benefits and outcomes. Some of these organizations have been able to use AI and NLP within their CDS tools. With other tools, clinicians are now able to have patient information automatically input into a template directly from the EMR saving clinicians time from needing to redundantly refill data like height and weight.

Vendors are also driving innovative solutions by creating content based on updated medical practice purposed for surveillance and analytics. This is especially helpful as the medical community as a whole is going through this time of global crisis. When clinicians are able to see the latest information available, they are better able to make informed decisions in the moment. Check out the full report for more insights into CDS solutions, including some of the challenges providers have faced while getting the tools up and running and whether implementations have met expectations.


     Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, pressmaster