CDC team develops clinical decision support app to improve lab orders, diagnoses 

A CDC-developed smartphone app has the potential to help physicians order laboratory tests and make diagnostic decisions, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The CDC's Clinical Laboratory Integration into Healthcare Collaborative, a seven-member collaborative the agency convened to study how laboratory services may be used to improve patient care, developed the PTT Advisor app to improve the accuracy of various assessment and diagnostic decisions.

For the study, a multi-institutional research team enrolled 46 physicians from seven U.S. healthcare systems to diagnose eight patient vignettes. In each of the vignettes, patients had either normal prothrombin times or abnormal partial thromboplastin times.

For four of the vignettes, the physicians made their test-ordering and diagnosis decisions using standard clinical decision support, while they used PTT Advisor for the remaining four.

The researchers found PTT Advisor's accuracy for test-ordering and diagnostic decisions was 82.6 percent, compared to the accuracy of standard clinical decision support at 70.2 percent. Physicians also completed their assessments more quickly when using PTT Advisor.

The physicians reported overall positive perceptions of PTT Advisor's potential to improve clinical decision-making, and recommended using the app to address broader diagnostic challenges.

The study authors concluded the app "may contribute to better test ordering and diagnosis, serve as a learning tool for diagnostic evaluation of certain clinical disorders, and improve patient outcomes."

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