October 23, 2012
The 17-year science-to-service lag in health care is a big challenge for the field. It just continues to take a long time for new research findings to make their way to the consumers we serve. The question is – why?
A recent study in Health Affairs took a look at the reasons driving this seemingly endless lag time (see Five Reasons That Many Comparative Effectiveness Studies Fail To Change Patient Care And Clinical Practice), with the authors identifying five factors contributing to the situation:
Ambiguity of study findings and results that slow the decision to adopt the research
Failure of the research to address the needs of end users – often a problem of applicability and operationalization
Cognitive biases in the interpretation of new information (the very natural human tendency to slow the speed of change)
The financial incentives of the fee-for-service payment system that may militate against the adoption of new clinical practices; and
Limited use of decision support tools by both patients and clinicians
Do these sound familiar? In particular, the limited use of decision support tools jumped out at me as an issue for many providers in health and human services. And, we’ve written before about the role of (and importance of) decision support tools in reducing variance in clinical practice – see Using Your EHR Data: Five Keys Steps To Develop Strategic Decision Support & Market Differentiation and Clinical Decisions Support Products: What’s Available for Use in Behavioral Health? .
But if you are feeling a bit “lonely” because your organization doesn’t have decision support tools in place, you are not alone. An article by Susan D. Hall in FierceHealthIT, Decision support tools could better align research, practice, recently reported that “Just 16 percent of hospital leader respondents said their facilities have the CDS tools they need for accountable care.”
This isn’t a very promising percentage, and the question is, where to start a solution? The answer – your electronic health record (EHR). Provider organizations looking for a maximum return on investment (ROI) for the reduction of care costs and improvement of care for patients, got that ROI from EHR-facilitated clinical decision support (see Clinical decision support provides best return among EHR functions). The key? Work with your vendor to enhance your EHR’s ability to support your organization’s decision support tools.
For more on this, and the use of informatics and analytics to enhance decision support to professionals and consumers, check out my closing remarks from the 2012 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute, Tech = Tools all members.
Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: From EHR Function To Functional EHR all members
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered OPEN MINDS Circle members.