NURS 6421 Week 2: Clinical Decision Support

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NURS 6421: Supporting Workflow in Healthcare Systems | Week 2

In May, 2011, Deborah Kogan’s 4-year-old son Leo came down with a fever. When the fever lasted for several hours and Leo’s face started to look puffy, Deborah took him to the pediatrician, who tested Leo for strep throat and then sent him home. The strep test came back negative, but a few days later, according to his mother, Leo’s face had swelled to about twice its normal size. She posted a picture of Leo on Facebook, and within a few hours she started receiving comments from friends and acquaintances who thought Leo might have Kawasaki disease. Deborah rushed Leo to the hospital where doctors confirmed this diagnosis and treated Leo for the disease (NPR, 2012).

Although this story ended well and Leo made a full recovery, it highlights a major concern in health care. For medical conditions that are rare, emerging, or that share symptoms with other conditions, physicians or nurses run a risk of misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a patient at all, as in Leo’s case. This has significant implications not only for patient outcomes, but also for health care organizations and the public’s faith in the health care system. Fortunately, there are many emerging health care technologies and clinical decision support (CDS) systems that can reduce the likelihood of misdiagnosis, patient injuries, liabilities, and other risks.

This week, you explore the use of CDS systems in health care practice settings.

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Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze the requirements and guidelines that influence the design of clinical decision support (CDS) systems
  • Analyze the benefits and potential problems of CDS systems in health care practice settings

NURS 6421 Week 2: Clinical Decision Support essay assignment

Clinical decision support (CDS) systems refer to a variety of computer-based tools and software that health care professionals, including nurses, can use to inform the choices they make at the point of care. CDS systems are informatics tools that are aimed at increasing the effectiveness and quality of health care by connecting evidence, best practices, and knowledge with decisions made in the practice setting. Because of its focus on improving outcomes, CDS is included as one of the core components of meaningful use in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

In this Discussion, you analyze the elements that can influence the design of a CDS system. You also assess the benefits of CDS and identify challenges that may occur in practice related to a CDS system.

To prepare:

  • Review the information in this week’s Learning Resources on CDS systems. Reflect on why and how these systems are used in health care organizations and specific practice settings.
  • Search in the Walden Library for an article on a specific CDS system that has recently been researched, implemented, or evaluated. The article you select must have a publication date within the past 3 years.
  • Consider the requirements and guidelines (meaningful use, evidence-based practice guidelines, organizational regulations, core measures, etc.) that influenced the design of the CDS system.
  • Reflect on the benefits of using this CDS system in a practice setting. Why would an organization implement this specific system? What organizational, legal, or practice-related needs or issues does the system address?
  • Reflect on the practice-related problems that the system caused or could cause. For example, do you see an issue with alert fatigue, with too few alerts, with override capabilities, or with some other aspect of the system?

NURS 6421 Week 2: Clinical Decision Support essay assignment

By Day 3

Post a brief summary of the CDS system highlighted in the article you selected, including the practice setting in which it can be or was used and the requirements and guidelines that influenced its design. Explain the benefits of the CDS system to the practice setting. Identify potential problems that could or did arise related to the CDS system.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ responses.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues on two different days. Provide any additional insights you may have on the benefits and potential problems of the CDS system they described. Then propose at least one way the system could be revised to address the potential issues.

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