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Evaluating the use of a computerized clinical decision support system for asthma by pediatric pulmonologists

International Journal of Medical Informatics
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2011.11.004
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Clinical
  • Qualitative Evaluation
  • Asthma
  • Design
  • Medicine


Abstract Purpose To investigate use of a new guideline-based, computerized clinical decision support (CCDS) system for asthma in a pediatric pulmonology clinic of a large academic medical center. Methods We conducted a qualitative evaluation including review of electronic data, direct observation, and interviews with all nine pediatric pulmonologists in the clinic. Outcome measures included patterns of computer use in relation to patient care, and themes surrounding the relationship between asthma care and computer use. Results The pediatric pulmonologists entered enough data to trigger the decision support system in 397/445 (89.2%) of all asthma visits from January 2009 to May 2009. However, interviews and direct observations revealed use of the decision support system was limited to documentation activities after clinic sessions ended. Reasons for delayed use reflected barriers common to general medical care and barriers specific to subspecialty care. Subspecialist-specific barriers included the perceived high complexity of patients, the impact of subject matter expertise on the types of decision support needed, and unique workflow concerns such as the need to create letters to referring physicians. Conclusions Pediatric pulmonologists demonstrated low use of a computerized decision support system for asthma care because of a combination of general and subspecialist-specific factors. Subspecialist-specific factors should not be underestimated when designing guideline-based, computerized decision support systems for the subspecialty setting.

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