Clinical Decision Support
Update provided by Dr Anna Janssen
This month’s Digital Health CRC update is on the project ‘Using decision support for more responsive care, better patient outcomes, and greater efficiency’. The project is a collaboration between Industry partners Sydney Local Health District, Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Alcidion, and eHealth NSW, and University partners the University of Sydney and Queensland University of Technology. Associate Professor Melissa Baysari, who is the lead investigator on the project at the University of Sydney, has kindly agreed to answer some questions about the project to share with the DHIN. Thank you very much for participating in this interview Melissa.
Could you briefly describe the project?
This is an exciting project which aims to investigate how decision support tools are implemented and used to deliver safe, effective, efficient, and equitable care. Decision support tools are systems designed to enhance health-related decisions and actions by providing users with pertinent, organised clinical and patient information. There is now little doubt that decision support tools have the potential to improve care delivery, but there are also a large number of studies showing that their success is hampered by poor user acceptance, uptake and integration into workflow. This program of work evaluates and will optimise the implementation of decision support tools to ensure that expected benefits are achieved.
What is your role in the project?
I am co-leading this project with Professor Steve McPhail from Queensland University of Technology. My expertise is in Human Factors evaluation and design, so I will be leading the Human Factors component of the project. Human Factors is a scientific discipline that applies evidence-based methods to study and improve the ‘fit’ between people and the environments in which they live and work (including the technologies they use). I will be leading work to understand and improve the ‘fit’ between healthcare providers and the decision support tools.
What excites you most about working on the project?
What excites me most about this project is the focus on decision support integration into workflow. Although it is very important to ensure decision support tools are accurate and reliable (i.e the back-end work), I think the more challenging aspect is getting decision support tools taken up and used optimally in practice. This project recognises the importance of human factors, of system usefulness, relevance and usability, and I think that’s what attracted me to the program of work. We will generate evidence to guide the implementation of future decision support tools in health service environments and that’s very exciting.
What do you see as the key benefits of this project to the University of Sydney?
This project is contributing to making the University of Sydney one of the leaders in decision support evaluation and optimisation. It is strengthening the University’s connections with key health service, vendor and government partners, and ensuring the University continues to work with these partners to solve real-world problems.
How is working on an industry research project through the DHCRC different than other research projects?
I’m not sure I can answer this question, as this is my first DHCRC Project. I have many ongoing partnership projects with industry, health services and government, so this kind of project is not new to me, but I’m excited about the opportunities working within the larger DHCRC will present – I’m sure there will be many! So far, getting all partners in the room to discuss ideas has been lots of fun.
What does success look like for you on this project?
Success will be sustained uptake of useful and usable decision support tools that provide clear benefits to both healthcare providers and patients.