A clinical decision support system is a software program that helps healthcare providers to make decisions and improve patient care. It does so by analyzing the patient-related data and applying knowledge management techniques on it.

The information provided by a clinical decision support system is helpful in structuring a care plan for the patients.

A CDS collates all the available patient information and examines it against relevant clinical research.

The analysis thus obtained helps physicians in conducting proper diagnosis, understand the nature of upcoming events and devise a drug or treatment plan.

Typically, a CDS offers alerts to take preventive care and also helps avoid unnecessary tests for patients.

A can help physicians flag irregularities in the past treatments and use it for making improvisations at a later stage.

Use of a CDS helps improve quality of care and minimize expenses incurred in overall care.

The HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act), states that providers have to exhibit meaningful use of IT systems for patient treatment. A CDS helps providers implement clinical decision support rules and a reverse tracking system to measure its implementation.

While there are distinct advantages of using a CDS, the technology comes with its share of disadvantages too.

Many CDS are standalone systems that are very difficult to integrate with the existing EHRs. Also, it takes a reasonable time and effort to organize and align the CDS with a practice’s workflow.


Types of CDS

There are two types of CDS – Knowledge-based and non-knowledge-based. The knowledge-based CDS matches patient data using a set of rules with data pre-stored in its repository.

Whereas, a non-knowledge-based CDS uses machine learning to learn the patterns from patient data. It then improvises upon that patterns to deduce results.