EHR clinical decision support tools help health systems reduce costs, study finds 

Health systems may experience financial gains by implementing clinical decision support tools in their EHR systems, according to a recent study published in the US National Library of Medicine.

For the study, a team of researchers from New York City-based Mount Sinai School of Medicine and University of Potsdam in Germany analyzed a compilation of 27 studies on EHR-based CDS interventions.

Of the 27 studies analyzed, the researchers found that 22 studies showed a positive economic impact after implementing CDS tools in the EHR. Overall, the digital tools helped to lower costs on unnecessary lab testing, duplicate order entry and reducing antibiotic prescriptions.

While most of the studies showed that the CDS tools in the EHR helped to reduce costs, the researchers noted that undiscovered malfunctions with the tools or order facilitators could result in unexpected new costs. Also, CDS systems often present high upfront and maintenance costs, so the researchers examined the studies and found that four included economic evaluations that reported mixed monetary outcome results.

The researchers concluded that while most studies currently do not account for comparative cost-outcome metrics, the positive economic impact of EHR-based CDS tools is still highly promising.

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