Clinical Decision Support

What is CDS?

CDS provides timely information, usually at the point of care, to help inform decisions about a patient's care.[i]  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) defines CDS as ‘health IT functionality that builds upon the foundation of an EHR to provide persons involved in care processes with general and person-specific information, intelligently filtered and organized, at appropriate times, to enhance health and health care’.[ii] CDS encompasses a variety of tools and processes to enhance decision-making in the clinical workflow.[iii]

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How are CDS and electronic clinical quality measures (CQMs) related?

CDS and eCQMs are closely related, share many common requirements, data elements, and support health care quality improvement.

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What are the technical standards for CDS?

The standards used for the electronic representation of CDS and eCQM were developed separately and use different data models and computable expression languages.  CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are supporting efforts to identify, develop, and harmonize standards for CDS and eCQM.

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What are key federal CDS efforts?

Appropriate Use Criteria Program  - A CMS program to promote the use of appropriate use criteria for advanced diagnostic imaging services through CDS.  Appropriate use criteria are evidence-based and assist professionals who order and furnish applicable imaging services to make the most appropriate treatment decisions for a specific clinical condition.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Clinical Decision Support (CDS) Initiative  – Launched in 2016, this initiative aims to accelerate evidence into practice through CDS and to move CDS closer to becoming more shareable, health IT standards-based, and publicly-available. The initiative has three main components:

1) The PCCDS Learning Network, which is a forum for stakeholders to collaborate with and participate in the initiative;

2) CDS Connect, which is building prototype infrastructure for sharing CDS through a web-based repository and is also developing and piloting CDS; and

3) A set of funding opportunities for grants to develop and scale CDS based on PCOR findings.

4) A fourth component to evaluate the overall initiative is also planned.

Optimizing Strategies for Clinical Decision Support - The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is supporting the National Academy of Medicine to convene, through the NAM’s Digital Learning Collaborative, a multi-stakeholder interdisciplinary steering group and its several sub-groups of experts working collaboratively to explore key issues and set out practical strategies to advance the availability and affordability of CDS that meets clinicians’ and patients’ needs.

The Patient-Centered Research Clinical Decision Support Learning Network (PCCDS-LN) - An AHRQ supported initiative bringing together diverse stakeholders to promote a sustainable community around developing, disseminating, and applying PCOR-enabled CDS. 

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Where can I find federal CDS resources?

Guide to Improving Care Processes and Outcomes

Health IT-enabled eCQI (Outpatient)

Health IT-enabled eCQI (Inpatient)

Planning and Implementing Improved Care Processes

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Last updated date

July 17, 2017