Supporting clinical decisions with health information technology

An implementation guide for clinical decision support systems.

We consistently come across reports that have the potential to shape the way we achieve our intended objectives as a company.  Identifying them when initially released for publication is not always a straightforward task. Discussing them collectively with other departments is not necessarily everyday practice. However, one particular report (NHS England 2023) has provided an excellent opportunity for discussion with the Marketing team.

As a clinician, I welcome this document, mainly because the aim is to shape a patient centred approach, which can help us to align our products and services within healthcare needs and the suggestions acknowledged in these reports. With the main goal of achieving the best possible outcomes for an individual’s health and well-being.  

The specific document I am referring to is NHS England’s publication of “Supporting clinical decisions with health information technology. An implementation guide for clinical decision support systems (Published August 2023).” The guide establishes the vision for the application of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) systems throughout the NHS in England, highlighting its capacity to enhance care quality, outcomes, and safety. Clinical decision support systems augment optimal practices by providing clinicians with relevant information during decision-making. Research has demonstrated their effectiveness in improving decision quality, minimising errors, and unnecessary variations, as well as facilitating shared decision-making (Kwan et al., 2020). The appeal of this document lies in the fact that it consolidates fundamental findings from the literature and offers best practice to guide digital and clinical leaders in implementing CDS at both local and regional levels. Furthermore, to help healthcare professionals improve the quality of care and unlock their potential to transform healthcare services, there are five core principles for CDS design: providing the right information, to the right person, in the right format, through the right channel, at the right time. 

Andy Hamilton, our Head of Marketing, said “There really isn’t anything ground-breaking in the five core principles. It’s the basis for any good communications and customer relationship marketing strategy. It does make it sound easy but there are many marketing case studies to tell you otherwise. We’ve all seen when companies fail on social – right channel and audience, wrong message. Or maybe you wonder why you’ve been served up an ad for a mega yacht?”

What the report is really saying is, it’s not about over complicating it. Just stick to the fundamentals, for now. It can be all too easy to get carried away with what digital can do without really looking at whether it makes things easier, more efficient or effective for all involved. It’ll take time, research and feedback to get projects right. But that’s the beauty of digital, there is the data, historic and real time, so, it can adapt quickly for you. Get the fundamentals right first”

We’re already working on our piece of ‘clinical decisions with health information technology’, so you might want to watch this space.