The McKinsey Quarterly had a nice piece on Reforming hospitals with IT investment that contained a great paragraph:
Combined with clinical-decision-support (CDS) tools that give physicians best-practice guidelines for medical procedures and with stricter coding classifications, electronic health records not only broaden access to medical information but also serve as a forcing agent to spur the adoption of standard operating procedures and best medical practice.
While the bulk of the article was on Electronic Medical Records/Electronic Health Records I appreciated this emphasis on the role of decision making in delivering the benefits of electronic medical records. Too many articles on EMR/EHR systems assert that simply storing, managing and regurgitating information about patients will improve results. Given the pressure on medical staff to act rapidly in emergencies and to minimize time spent with patients for cost reasons, simply having more information is insufficient. Medical staff need active systems, systems that will make decisions (“this test is not necessary”, “this procedure should be substituted for that one”, “this drug is contraindicated for this patient”) if that information is to be put to work.
I have blogged about the role of decision management in effectively taking medical records online before. We will not get the value we need out of these systems unless we combine integrated, available medical records with best practice and analytics-based treatment recommendations, problem identification and drug interaction/dosage monitoring and more. Healthcare decision management.