HealthFebruary 02, 2022

Stresses on the healthcare system require ‘pioneering’ approach in decision support

Even before the global pandemic, chronic illnesses and healthcare spending were on the rise, putting a great deal of stress on our healthcare facilities, technological capabilities, and providers and patients. Clinical decision support (CDS) systems are playing a critical role in helping frontline care teams and patients make the right care decisions.

Forecasted to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 9.3%, with revenues topping $6.47 billion USD by 2024, CDS systems are poised to become the user interface of choice for clinical interaction within healthcare information technology, according to Frost and Sullivan. Industry experts believe CDS systems could even supersede electronic health records as the primary health IT point of interface for clinicians.

But in a world where CDS systems are being more frequently consulted and relied upon to optimize healthcare, they must be held to a high standard when informing the clinical decision-making that impacts patient care and outcomes.

In its recent “Best Practices for World-Class Performance” review of CDS systems, Frost & Sullivan noted certain key factors that denote “pioneering” solutions in the CDS space:

  • Grading Quality of Evidence: The volume of clinical research produced makes it difficult for care teams to keep up with the latest healthcare best practices and clinical guidance, especially in the wake of a global pandemic. Because no clinician can distill the massive volume of new data regularly, clinicians need to understand how experts evaluate data and arrive at a recommendation. CDS systems that grade clinical recommendations by the quality of evidence instill confidence levels that guide decision-making, even when the evidence is weak or unclear.
  • Aligning Care Team Decisions: For each patient, clinical decisions consider a complex range of variables, such as the patient's background and preferences, the latest medical evidence, and what is discovered by the provider during the clinical encounter. As care teams have expanded, clinical decisions are being made across an even more significant number of roles, introducing the risk of misaligned decisions. Given that care teams use their CDS solutions consistently every day, aligned content and communication across solutions can help to standardize care and improve outcomes.
  • Avoiding Typical CDS Pitfalls: Traditional CDS systems come with disadvantages – like alert fatigue, diagnostic errors, and disrupted workflows – that make advanced systems that incorporate greater precision and fewer manual inputs a better choice for clinicians.

Exemplifying healthcare best practices during COVID and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the strain on the healthcare industry with the increased pressure to recruit and retain physicians, who were quickly overwhelmed by the caseloads of patients presenting to their hospitals. As the pandemic worsened in the U.S., the volume and pace of clinical research about the novel virus made it impossible for clinicians to keep up with the latest literature, and the need for high-quality CDS became even more apparent.

That, in part, is why the Frost & Sullivan award for 2021 Best Practices Company of the Year Award in the North America for the clinical decision support industry was presented to Wolters Kluwer.

When the pandemic began, healthcare professionals reviewed COVID-19 topics provided by Wolters Kluwer clinical decision support resources 319,880 times, which tripled to 921,207 by the end of March 2020. Since February 4, 2020, COVID-19 topics have been viewed 31.1 million times by 1.3 million individual clinicians. Wolters Kluwer continues to offer free access to COVID-19 topics across its multiple solutions.

Frost and Sullivan reports that Wolters Kluwer continues to meet criteria for healthcare best practices in CDS content including:

  • Actionable, evidence-based recommendations at the point of care
  • Support in reducing prescription errors
  • Amplifying patient engagement

To learn more, read the full report.

Read the Frost & Sullivan Report
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