Select the Right CDS Intervention

Clinical Decision Support interventions should be:

  1. Actionable – alert needs to drive provider/team member to act in a way that would satisfy the clinical guideline (i.e breast cancer screening – order mammogram).

  2. Visible – alerts must be visible to the entire care team and patient, but may need to be messaged different depending on the target audience (i.e. high blood pressure alert can direct a provider to use an order set while a different blood pressure alert can direct a patient to seek medical attention).   Another example - good clinical decision support interventions use visual cues to draw clinician attention: just by turning a high blood pressure alert red often will improve adherence to the order set. CDS cannot rely only on providers and should emphasize the importance of team based care.  This then requires necessary processes in place to support the ability of the entire team (the their skill level) to care for the patient/population

  3. Consistency – CDS must query, record and communicate data in a consistent and structured way (i.e. data dictionary).

  4. Flexible – CDS needs to be flexible in its technology design to meet different requirements of local needs and constraints.  Its content should be interchangeable over time with new guidelines.

  5. Reliable – CDS should have low false positives and negatives.  It only takes a few incorrect alerts for providers to mistrust future alerts.