Over my career in healthcare, I’ve seen dramatic changes across many areas. Today’s common practices were novel at one time, such as using antibiotics to treat infections. Similarly, what we view as barbaric today, was once cutting edge. The next frontier in healthcare is having smart business intelligence and clinical decision support (CDS) technologies that aid clinicians in making the best choices for their patients at the point of care – be it a hospital room, doctor’s office, clinic or other setting.
"CDS solutions that enable prompt, meaningful and actionable decisions are the next innovation that CIOs and life sciences companies should be paying attention to"
As life sciences companies create innovative therapies, it is incumbent upon them to demonstrate their value. It takes about 17 years for a medical advancement to become standard practice, and only about half of all recommended, evidence-based standards of care are provided to patients. This is largely due to the vast amount of information and research that clinicians must retain. In fact, a new peer-reviewed journal article, scientific study or research publication is released every 26 seconds. If a physician read and retained two of these articles every night, at the end of a year, they would still be about 1,000 years behind the current evidence.
90 percent of every U.S. healthcare dollar results from a physician decision that is entered into the electronic health record (EHR), however, more than 20 percent of these services are typically unnecessary and wasteful. It is estimated that in 2011, between $158 billion and $226 billion dollars was attributed to overtreatment. Additionally, medical errors – either mistakes of omission or commission – remain the third leading cause of death for patients in the United States.
Given the complex interplay between patients, health systems, research and other factors that influence every decision made, clinicians need better ways to access the newest evidence and medical advancements available at the point of care. It is critical that they have validated, relevant and easy-to-access clinical guidelines to quickly inform their behavior so that they can deliver the right treatment at the right time. Technologies that achieve this are on the market today but haven’t been widely adopted yet, even though everyone understands that the cloud has far more cognitive capacity than the individual.
Integrated CDS programs – like Stanson Health, which Premier Inc. recently acquired – can help close the evidence gap and allow more appropriate decisions to be made that can significantly reduce costs, while still providing proper patient care. In many cases, even better, faster care.
With today’s EHR, guidelines for order sets and care plans from hundreds of sources can be electronically integrated into the clinical workflow and provide recommendations at the point of care. Next generation CDS solutions have dynamic, cloud-based capabilities with embedded alerts that give providers the opportunity to generate a greater return on their EHR investment. However, they must continuously leverage sophisticated logic and validation through testing evidence-based guidelines around the use of therapies in live environments to ensure they are achieving value for both the clinician and the patient.
CDS solutions that enable prompt, meaningful and actionable decisions are the next innovation that CIOs and life sciences companies should be paying attention to. As they evolve, CDS solutions are quickly becoming a clinician’s best friend, helping them make fast, evidence-based decisions so they can focus on providing the best care to their patients.