Knowledge Management and Clinical Decision-Support Systems
Knowledge Management is ... "the systematic process of identifying, capturing, and transferring information and knowledge people can use to create, compete, and improve". [American Productivity and Quality Center, www.apqc.org] A standard textbook in medical informatics characterizes Clinical Decision-Support Systems (CDSS) as "tools for information management, for focusing attention, and for providing patient-specific recommendations". [Medical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine. Second ed. New York: Springer; 2001. p. 573-609] Broadly speaking, a CDSS is any computer program designed to help health professionals make clinical decisions. Thus, CDSSs are part of a knowledge-management concept that a healthcare organization can employ to deliver the "right knowledge to the right people in the right form at the right time".
Factors Leading to Successful CDSS Implementations
The large variety of knowledge representations and reasoning methods enable the creation of sophisticated CDSSs but do not guarantee their successful implementation. Among many factors, the following are considered to be important developing CDSSs:
- Timely advice,
- Workflow integration,
- Integration into IT environment,
- Response to user needs,
- Users' ability to change the knowledge base, and
- Maintenance and extension.
Developing a Roadmap for Clinical Decision Support