What is a Clinical Decision Support? Dispelling the myths and defining the purpose

To understand why this is a misconception, it is vital to understand what CDS is and the role it plays in clinical decision making.

By Ian Chuang, MD - September 14, 2021  2 mins
What is a Clinical Decision Support

Since the 1970’s, Clinical Decision Support (CDS) has been widely recognised amongst technologists, informaticians and clinicians as being a useful addition to healthcare providers. However, despite this, there has been some speculation and confusion on whether CDS will eventually replace the role of a clinician thus automating crucial decisions.

To understand why this is a misconception, it is vital to understand what CDS is and the role it plays in clinical decision making. CDS tools are designed to help filter large amounts of digital data to help suggest next steps for treatment or alert providers to other useful information. Computers do not ultimately control decisions instead, information is packaged and provided to complement the verdict reached by the medical body. CDS is intended to improve the quality of care, allow care team members to be more efficient and reduce the number of clerical errors.

A great example of how Clinical Decision Support is useful in a hospital setting is using order sets. A clinical order set is a pre-defined template that provides support in making clinical decisions for a specific condition or medical procedure. Whilst order sets help alleviate some of the workload, they still leave room for the clinician to lead with their expertise and draw from the latest standards of care and guidelines.

It is evident that CDS tools can never replace the need for clinicians but instead, can help to support our healthcare systems and provide the best quality of care to patients.

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Ian Chuang, MD
Written by

Ian Chuang, MD

Written by

Ian Chuang, MD

Dr Ian Chuang is the global Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for Elsevier's EMEALAAP Health business. Dr Chuang’s focus at Elsevier is collaborating with healthcare leaders to improve Healthcare Information Technology (HCIT) adoption, especially as it relates to clinical decision support and improving health system decisions and processes of care to improve outcomes.

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