In late 2023, Phrase Health convened another roundtable discussion on clinical decision support (CDS) optimization with experts from several top health systems. While the three health system presenters all use the Phrase Health technology, the intention was to be agnostic of technology and instead focus on the people and processes that exist to manage the prioritization, implementation, and optimization of CDS. The gathering offered a valuable glimpse into the collaborative efforts and innovative strategies employed by healthcare leaders to enhance their local CDS capabilities. The dialogue not only highlighted the challenges faced by these organizations, but also shed light on varied approaches to achieving more effective, efficient, and user-friendly CDS. We hope the summarized insights from this discussion can support other healthcare organizations navigating the complexities of CDS prioritization and optimization.
Aligning CDS with Healthcare Goals
A central theme of the roundtable was the importance of aligning prioritized CDS initiatives with the overarching goals of healthcare organizations. Participants underscored the need for a robust governance structure that ensures CDS strategies are adopted in tandem with broader healthcare objectives as this carries a better chance of success. This alignment is crucial for fostering an environment where CDS drives action, supported by interdisciplinary collaboration. The challenges in maintaining such governance structures were acknowledged, but so was their indispensability.
Experts highlighted the importance of a structured intake process for CDS requests, which aids in capturing essential details and ensures that proposed interventions align with clinical priorities and resources. This process is pivotal for prioritizing CDS requests, with a focus on potential patient safety impacts, compliance with regulatory requirements, and the viability to improve clinical outcomes.
The Journey from Implementation to Optimization
The implementation of CDS tools doesn’t end at go-live. Rather, it is a journey that requires the collective effort of multidisciplinary teams. This process is characterized by the integration of clinical informatics, pharmacy, nursing, information services, and other domains to ensure that CDS interventions are not only clinically relevant but also seamlessly incorporated and accepted into daily workflows. The roundtable contributors shared their ongoing endeavors to optimize CDS post-implementation, emphasizing the need for continuous refinement to keep pace with evolving clinical practices and technological advancements. Participants agreed that, just like any quality improvement cycle, a continuous cycle of development, feedback, and refinement is crucial for ensuring that CDS tools remain effective and minimize disruption to clinical workflows.
Innovations and Work Effort
Innovation in CDS was also touched on, with health systems exploring advanced analytics to assess the impact of CDS interventions on clinical outcomes. There is a push towards standardizing CDS across multiple sites to ensure consistency and efficiency, alongside efforts to involve frontline clinicians in the development process. This collaborative approach is key to creating CDS tools that are not only technically sound but also resonate with the needs and preferences of end-users.
With excitement about diving into CDS workflows, participants acknowledged a desire for more dedicated time to devote to these efforts. There was significant variation amongst attendees in the staff hours devoted to doing this implementation and evaluation work. While the Phrase Health platform wasn’t the focus of the roundtable, some presenters highlighted how the technology streamlined internal collaboration, organization, and review of CDS implementations.
Collaborating for Better CDS Outcomes
The insights from the CDS roundtable underscored the importance of collaboration, governance, and dedication in the pursuit of effective CDS implementations. As healthcare continues to evolve, the lessons shared by these health systems will be invaluable for others aiming to enhance their CDS capabilities. The journey from aligning CDS with healthcare goals, through the challenges of implementation and optimization, to the exploration of new technologies, highlights the dynamic and collaborative effort required to advance CDS. This endeavor is not just about technological innovation but also about fostering an ecosystem and community where those leading these CDS efforts can more easily support clinical decision-making, enhance patient outcomes, and streamline healthcare delivery.
We hope you attend our next roundtable. To get notified of future events, sign up here!