Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading global provider of information for healthcare professionals and students, recently hosted a webinar examining the role of clinical decision support (CDS) technology in improving patient safety and outcomes in the acute, primary and emergency care settings.
Dr. Peter Williams, Consultant in Acute and Emergency Medicine, St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, and Dr. Rakesh Patel, Clinical Lecturer in Medical Education, University of Leicester presented examples and data demonstrating how using CDS technology improves patient safety in their hospitals.
To date, the NHS experience with CDS technology is under-researched; yet the need to make it available has never been more pressing, as hospitals strive to improve patient safety and quality of care in a multitude of healthcare settings and scenarios.
Trusts throughout the UK are under unprecedented pressure as a result of an ageing population, increasing demand on services, and ongoing reorganisation of primary care, leading to concerns that the winter season will put intolerable strain on England's hospitals, particularly the A&E units. NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh has said the system is under "intense, growing and unsustainable pressure," with record numbers turning to casualty departments, causing the system to struggle with demand.
Dr. Peter Williams, Consultant in Acute and Emergency Medicine St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust, said: "It is impossible to know everything, especially in the sometimes over-stretched A&E units. Rising demands on our emergency departments put an ever greater pressure on staff, so access to clinical decision support technology, like UpToDate, provides valuable evidence based information for both senior clinicians and junior doctors. The clinicians in my department use UpToDate regularly at the point of care, enabling them to benefit from a great health informatics resource and ensure the best outcomes for our patients."
The bigger picture reveals the need to ensure that junior doctors have access to robust medical education resources as they develop their clinical experience and that seasoned clinicians are able to see through the unrelenting deluge of new medical research to adopt changes to existing practices. Clearly, the need for clinical decision support systems that aid in the formative decision-making of junior doctors while contributing to on-the-job continuing professional development (CPD) has become critical.