Defining Clinical Decision Support
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What is Clinical Decision Support?
It is generally recognised as a process for supporting decision making in the clinical or health care environment. Where these processes can be computerised the term Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS or CDS)is applied.
A Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS or CDS) is most usually but not always an interactive decision support systems (DSS) designed to assist clinicians, carers and patients with decision making tasks in relation to health care being provided with the assistance of electronic systems.
Dr. Robert Hayward of the Centre for Health Evidence proposed "Clinical Decision Support systems link health observations with health knowledge to influence health choices by clinicians for improved health care". Dr Howard's comments however only form a subset of the rich scope of CDS processes. A CDS system may do a lot more than influence and may be intrinsic to dictating defined policies and protocols for clinica care.
Overall a CDS system enhances health care related decision making utilising an existing clinical knowledge base or discovered patient information with the intention to improve the health and well being of one patient at one end of a continuum and at the other end improve the overall health care service delivery to groups or even nations.
The knowledge base utilised is usually organised and structured in particular ways and increasingly is classified and referenced in a standardized manner.
Support may be passive or active, hidden or overt, processed or raw but in any event requires governance over the quality, performance and stability of the system and knowledge allowing full transparency of the processes involved to reach the decision made or assisted.
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