Clinical Decision Support Systems – A Step Towards Automated Imaging

According to the January issue of the Journal of American College of Radiology, a research study was recently conducted showing that inadequate medical imaging can be decreased by the proper use of Clinical Decision Support Systems (DSS).

A clinical decision support system is normally used to aid decision making at the ordering end of imaging tests and works through computer order entry systems. This system has many practical benefits over manual methods as it gives immediate responses to doctors about imaging tests, such as verifying if the test was performed appropriately for certain indications. DSS systems are technologically advanced and may be used for knowledge sharing and educational reasons as well by limiting imaging test ordering in case the specific indications are not present.

Another study was conducted about implementing the evidence-based medical decision support features in the ordering systems for certain frequently occurring imaging procedures, such as lumbar magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), brain MRI, and sinus computed tomography (CT). This study also intended to find the imaging utilization rates as well as the pre and post effects of this innovation.

The outcome of the study indicated that the imaging rates after this change were reduced by 23.4% for lumbar MRIs, 23.2% for head MRIs and 26.8% for sinus CT.

The application of evidence-based imaging can be highly improved by the use of Clinical DSS as it is efficient, consistent, and transparent and can be applied to educational as well as practical use. Moreover it helps lower medical costs by eliminating excess imaging and improving healthcare safety and quality.