What Are Clinical Decision Support Tools?

Clinical decision support tools are found in EHR software that when applied effectively, can enhance patient care quality and outcomes, improve efficiency, and help to ensure regulatory compliance. Through clinical decision support tools, patient specific data and evidence-based guidance are presented to clinicians at appropriate times throughout the care planning process, guiding and reinforcing decisions at the point of care.

What are clinical decision support tools?

In general, clinical decision support tools can include, but are not limited to, alerts and reminders, documentation forms and templates, and guided clinical workflows. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Alerts & Reminders

This is what is most commonly associated with clinical decision support tools. Many EHRs have pop-up alerts built into the system to notify end users of important actions that should be taken, warnings, or reminders. While important in many situations, this type of clinical decision support tool should be used sparingly, as the risk of “alert fatigue” can be high. When the volume and frequency of these alerts is too high, it is possible that they will be clicked to close without reviewing, or just ignored completely.

Documentation Forms & Templates

Utilizing document templates as clinical decision support tools helps to ensure that appropriate data is collected and recorded. Well-designed templates allow clinicians to not only enter the required data, but also enter additional information to support the information recorded.  Additionally, these templates enable clinicians to clearly and accurately record documentation details that support the care provided and protect the agency from regulatory or legal scrutiny.

Guided Clinical Workflows

This type of clinical decision support tool provides support for clinical decision-making in multi-step care plans and protocols that extend over time. It provides evidence-based guidelines, recommendations, and pathways at the right time. Having this information readily available can greatly increase documentation efficiency and reduce anxiety that can come with clinical decisions.

CMS has made it abundantly clear that it is looking for patient-specific care plans. Additionally, it is looking more closely at documentation to ensure the quality and suitability of the care that is provided. But the scrutiny doesn’t stop there! These days, patients and their families have greater access to information regarding an agency’s quality of care, particularly through Home Health Compare and Hospice Compare.

A must-have in all home health and hospice software systems, patient-centric, clinical decision support tools help agencies achieve care delivery objectives including quality care, ensured regulatory compliance, better outcomes, and increased efficiency.

HEALTHCAREfirst is at the forefront of integrating superior clinical decision support tools into our software. This includes alerts, warnings, forms, templates, and CAREpliance guided care planning technology. For more information about how our software can help your agency, contact us today.