How clinical decision support can improve clinician time management and information access

COVID-19 has fundamentally altered the healthcare industry. It has exacerbated staff shortages, which has resulted in an overwhelming amount of work for nurses and clinicians along with ever-persistent time-management challenges.

In addition, to apply evidence-based treatments, healthcare professionals must stay current as new therapies constantly come to market.

During a March webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by IBM Micromedex, three decision-support experts from Micromedex shared insights on how a clinical decision support system can help address clinicians' time- and information-management challenges. Presenters were:

  • Bryan Bohanan, strategy and partnership leader, IBM Micromedex
  • Courtney Holmes, RN, associate chief health officer, IBM Micromedex
  • Rick Mathews, senior manager of implementations, IBM Micromedex

Three key insights:

1. COVID-19 has created enormous challenges for the health system. The pandemic has impeded chronic disease prevention and disrupted disease management, creating a backlog of cases that further stress an overwhelmed healthcare system. "Many elderly patients have delayed preventive care due to anxiety or lack of access," Mr. Bohanan said. "That has now escalated chronic illness and created a backlog of interventional treatments and preventative care. The only way to get time back is to work smarter, not harder."

2. The pandemic has also created an insurmountable volume of clinical evidence that's constantly and rapidly being updated. According to Ms. Holmes, easy access to current evidence-based medicine allows clinicians to save countless hours in making decisions for patients. "We need access to evidence-based medicine that keeps up with the velocity of content updates," she said. "Our routine surveillance of information went from daily cycles to hourly cycles."

3. Because of the demands on clinicians and massive amounts of evidence, providers must optimize decision support. Evidence-based resources that leverage cloud, automation and industry-leading AI combined with workflow optimization and provider education can help improve experiences. Four steps to optimize decision support:

  • Select a comprehensive, evidence-based solution. Micromedex is a pharmacy- and nursing- oriented solution focused on medication management. DynaMed includes 37 different medical specialties in its disease content, making it a comprehensive solution for physicians and advanced practitioners.
  • Personalize content. Using these solutions, practitioners have customized information and access regardless of their login location. They can access saved searches, follow topics, request relevant alerts and get notified of specific changes. "I'm also able to collect continuing education credits while using the product to inform my clinical decisions," Ms. Holmes said. "Personalization saves countless hours."
  • Fully optimize integration. Mr. Mathews noted that integration can take a few days to a few weeks — but can save thousands of hours per year. "For example, a nurse is working within the EHR and needs dosing information on a medication," he said. "If we have the integration in place, that nurse can simply click on the info button, have the information rendered within the EHR, make a clinical decision and exit."
  • Provide complete and ongoing education. It's important that all staff are as proficient as possible with the decision-support solution. "We offer both in-person and guided e-learning education," Mr. Bohanan said. "Sometimes, during the education process, you learn ways that you can optimize even further. It's a very iterative process."

Clinical decision-support solutions, such as solutions from IBM Micromedex, promise to help overwhelmed clinicians stay up to date on the information they need to make the best evidence-based decisions for their patients every day.

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