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Three Tips for Effectively Implementing a CDS Solution

April 2, 2020
Three Tips for Effectively Implementing a CDS Solution

Creating a truly effective solution for precision dosing requires ensuring that the platform will become effectively integrated at the point of care. Doing that well depends on several things:

  1. An understanding of the factors that enable the adoption of clinical decision support (CDS) tools
  2. The ability to overcome any implementation barriers that exist
  3. A solid analytics platform and framework to support scalability

I recently gave a presentation on these topics at the Food and Drug Administration, and wanted to underscore just how important—and frequently overlooked—these areas are when hospitals are looking to put a precision dosing solution, or any third-party CDS tool, in place. Here’s why each area is so important.

What it takes for CDS adoption

Simply put, the ideal CDS platform needs to be user-friendly. The healthcare system has long been troubled by poor product user interfaces (UI). Many software solutions today have deep capabilities, but those capabilities are hidden behind a challenging, non-intuitive UI. This will greatly reduce adoption—especially when one interface has to meet the needs of several users with different needs. (Alternatively, mandated use of poorly designed software can contribute to physician burnout.)

Therapeutic drug monitoring is a great example of this challenge, where nurses, clinical pharmacists, physicians, and lab employees all have to work in concert to administer a drug to a patient. If the product is used by different types of healthcare practitioners,  a sub-optimal UI for any one of these care team members can disrupt the entire work stream. That’s why UIs must meet four basic criteria:

  1. Be useful
  2. Be user-friendly
  3. Be intuitive and simple
  4. Avoid compromising on quality

Overcoming implementation barriers

Anyone who has ever used an EHR knows that integrating with one is not easy. They’re relatively closed-off systems, lacking modern application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow patient data to be transferred easily.Compounding that challenge is the fact that the hospital IT staff who can help with integration are often scarce and typically dealing with large project backlogs.

If that doesn’t make it challenging enough, variation between different EHR systems means that the clinical workflow within the EHR isn’t very clear.  

So how can hospital staff who are trying to get software installed into the system overcome those challenges? First, any vendor you’re considering should be able to clearly and tangibly demonstrate their ROI—that’s always going to be the first hurdle to clear. Second, ensure you have an internal clinical champion who can help to push the implementation process internally while helping the vendor understand how their product should fit into the overall workflow. Finally, it’s important to determine the most efficient integration path for the software. There are many different ways to integrate, and what works best for one hospital may not be ideal for a different one.Figure out what the ideal path is for your organization and focus your efforts there.


Creating an effective analytics framework

Implementing any new CDS software is going to raise questions among the new user group. These will likely include some of the following:

  1. What’s the clinical benefit of using this tool?
  2. Will this save money and/or improve patient outcomes?
  3. What’s the operational benefit?
  4. Is this going to create more burden, disrupt workflow, or add time to any staff member’s day?

We believe these kinds of questions can be answered by architecting a framework with the CDS solution that allows for the proper collection of data, then standardizes and visualizes it. This visualization can best be displayed in a well-designed dashboard.

Here’s an example of this in practice. InsightRX created a system within the InsightRX platform that batches data from the hospital’s CDS server nightly, strips all protected health information from that data, and then pushes the data to a clinical analytics engine.

We use that engine to process the data and pull out all relevant clinical and operational metrics, then push that data out through a series of dashboards that are designed with our tenets of friendly UI in mind.We’ve heard from our clients that this kind of data visualization is invaluable to hospital administrators and other stakeholders to quickly assess these analytics at a glance. 

These same considerations should apply whenever you’re considering any CDS type of technology. Ask yourself: Is it going to be easy for staff to use, is it going to integrate effectively into the workflow, and will it deliver real value—both in terms of ROI and in terms of ease of use? If the vendor can’t meet these three goals, look elsewhere.

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