Weighing the Value of Clinical Decision Support Tools

A study from the RAND corporation, published in JAMA, found clinical decision support tools increased the proportion of tests for Medicare fee-for-service patients rated as appropriate.

The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 passed by Congress made it mandatory for institutions to use appropriate clinical decision support (CDS) tools to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. Additionally, CDS is also a part of Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements for electronic medical records. The hope was that CDS would help reduce healthcare spending associated with unnecessary and expensive imaging such as MRI and CT scans.

However, a recent study from the RAND corporation, published in JAMA, found that these computer-based programs that match a patient's characteristics against treatment criteria and recommend a treatment, actually increased the proportion of tests for Medicare fee-for-service patients rated as appropriate. "In our full report to Congress, we've outlined a series of improvements to the decision support tools that we expect can lead to greater reductions in unnecessary tests," siad Peter S. Hussey, lead author of the study and a senior policy researcher at RAND.

Read more on ScienceDaily: http://bit.ly/1JlxtO1