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HealthJune 30, 2022

How a clinical decision support tool serves smaller medical practices

Making time-sensitive, accurate clinical decisions for patients has always been one of the greatest challenges for physicians and other healthcare workers. With a continuous stream of new medical research and studies, along with the increasing amount of patient data available from electronic health records (EHRs), it is easy to become overwhelmed.

Clinical decision support (CDS) solutions can help alleviate this problem by providing medical professionals with the evidence-based information and treatment recommendations needed to make clinical decisions and improve patient outcomes.

Individual clinicians and small medical practices may have limited resources to implement a CDS solution. In addition, such clinicians may not have immediate access to specialists for consultation. They need easily accessible clinical information to address questions arising at the point of care.

The benefits of CDS for medical practices with less than 20 healthcare professionals

Clinicians in small medical practices make many clinical decisions each day. Having a single source of evidence-based clinical information at the point of care enables providers to quickly access important clinical information and identify the best course of action for their patients. By consulting a single authoritative resource, the whole clinical care team can follow best practices and improve patient care.

A trusted CDS tool should offer comprehensive provider information, including:

  • Full-text articles so clinicians can dive deeper into the information at any time
  • Summary and recommendations sections including grades to provide transparency regarding quality of available evidence
  • Complementary graphics including figures, tables, algorithms, and illustrations
  • Accurate information on drug dosing, adverse effects, and a drug interactions tool
  • Medical calculators to manage conversions and other formulas

Multidisciplinary content

A CDS should include trusted and updated clinical content in multiple specialties to provide a broad range of information to support care decisions. Access to information across specialties is important when treating patients with multiple comorbidities. Access to evidence-based clinical information based on the collective knowledge and experience of recognized leaders in their areas of specialization can lead to better diagnostic and treatment decisions.

Patient information

An effective CDS solution supports patients as active participants in their healthcare decision making. Providing clinicians with the proper tools and information allows clinicians to explain complicated conditions and their treatment at a level that is easier for patients to understand, fostering better adherence.

For example, if a patient has just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, clinicians can provide a printable handout that defines A1C levels, offers examples of healthy lifestyle changes, and breaks down myths.

Depending on a provider’s client demographic, offering patient education content in Spanish can help patients make informed medical decisions in partnership with their families and healthcare team.

Ease of use

A CDS should be built for speed. Hands-free, voice-enabled search can cut down on the time it takes to look up clinical information, and having the solution available on a mobile device frees clinicians to search for information anywhere — so they can find answers when and where they need them.

Uninterrupted access

Small practices may operate in rural areas or locations where internet access is unreliable. In such cases, a CDS solution with the option of upgrading to download all available content on their mobile device to be used offline ensures uninterrupted access to clinical information.

The value of CDS adoption among clinicians

One of the greatest challenges for CDS adoption is proving return on investment (ROI). Using a solution associated with improved outcomes such as quality of care and shortened length of stay can help support a financial investment. Small practices with several clinicians can also take advantage of more economical group rates not available for individual subscribers. Ensuring all clinicians in a small practice have access to a robust clinical decision support solution can impact health outcomes, prevent unnecessary testing, and reduce costs.

UpToDate is an online, continuously updated clinical decision support resource that helps more than 2 million medical professionals worldwide make the right treatment decisions.

UpToDate offers:

  • Instant access to trusted content in more than 25 specialties — anytime, anywhere — with our mobile app and voice-enabled search
  • “What’s New” and “Practice Changing UpDates,” where you can view the most recent developments in your area of expertise
  • More than 9,500 graded recommendations written and reviewed by 7,300+ physicians, authors, and editors
  • Access to select medication monographs and interactive tools from our included drug reference, Lexicomp®

For 30 years, the UpToDate team has remained committed to the mission of helping medical professionals like you tackle tough clinical questions by providing evidence-based recommendations. 33% of practicing clinicians changed care decisions after reviewing UpToDate. Learn how your entire practice can benefit from UpToDate, and save by ordering together.

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