Clinical Decision Support System


Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) is computer software designed to assist clinicians and another medical practitioners with decision-making tasks such as determining the treatment of patient data. This concept has been created to simplify clinical decision-making support. The system was implemented in the United State as an effort to improve the practice of patient health assessment and medical application. CDSS gives the clinicians, patients or caretakers clinical knowledge and specific patient information to enable them to make the decision that provides patient care. The information is harmonized to a clinical knowledge base and specific recommendations of a patient which are then communicated effectively during patient care (Gorman et al, 2001).

Significant Obstacles of CDSS

Despite the assurance of CDSS, numerous challenges exist in their development and implementation. One of the major challenges is that the medical knowledge base of the system is incomplete because of its less sufficient and reliable evidence. Additionally, methodologies are in process of being designed to convert the knowledge base into computer understandable codes and interventions for turning over the knowledge to clinicians and medical practitioners in a way they put in practice are under development (Kawamoto et al, 2005).

Maybe due to its technical skills requirement, the CDS system suffers a low clinician demand hence leading to the system adoption barrier. System speed and ease of use have been also associated with clinicians’ lack of motivation to use them. It’s believed that the system demanded a lot from the practicing physicians hence making it not preferable to many of them (Gorman et al, 2001).

Electronic Medical Record (EMRs) is also a challenge to the implementation and acceptance of the CDS system to the medical practitioners. Many argue that EMRs can also include CDSS applications as the computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system. It’s evidenced that according to the 2008 National Ambulatory Medical care Survey results 38% of physicians applied the use of EMR, and only 4% used an EMR with CDS system capabilities (Kawamoto et al, 2005).


With the use of the CDS system, clinicians could overcome many challenges in health care such as practice improvement and treatment error. CDSS serves as a management tool and memory aid to clinicians.

CDDS is capable of retrieving the patient treatment information as it is fed in the system, unlike the current electronic patient record system which fails to retrieve all information buried in them. To ensure the effective introduction of the CDS system to healthcare management, it’s essential to understand the perspectives of the clinicians and their preferences on the information technology. This is because the users’ resistance emerges to be the major hindrance to the adoption of the CDS system.

CDSS has friendly operations where the user gets what he needs just with a click of a mouse and this makes it best compared with the current electronic medical report.


Gorman, P., Greenes, A., Haynes, B., Kaplan, B., Lehmann, H., & Tang, C. (2001). Clinical Decision Support Systems for the Practice of Evidence-based Medicine. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 8(6), 529-33.

Kawamoto, K., Houlihan,.A., Balas,.A.and Lobach, F. (2005). Improving clinical practice using clinical decision support systems: a systematic review of trials to identify features critical to success. British Medical Journal, 330(94):766-68

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