Clinical support decision system saves lives, time

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According to researchers at Harvard University, Wolters Kluwer Health’s UpToDate system has proven valuable for subscriber physicians in saving lives and reducing the time spent assessing acute medical conditions, reports Healthcare IT News.

The researchers published the findings of their report on UpToDate in the Journal of Hospital Medicine Early View. According to the report, the system has helped physicians save more than 11,500 lives and 372,500 hospital days over a three-year period. The news source reports that UpToDate has been used in healthcare facilities since the early 1990s, and is now in use at more than 90 percent of academic health centers.

The Harvard study focused on the relationship between three primary healthcare objectives and the implementation of the system. Clinical outcomes focused on in the study included risk-adjusted length of stay estimates, related mortality rates and performance quality.

“What this study really does do for hospitals, clients and those who aren’t UpToDate users, is to fortify the message that having this type of resource is very important for patient safety, quality of care and even hospital efficiency,” Peter Bonis, a gastroenterologist and chief medical officer of UpToDate, told the news source.

Bonis also said that Wolters Kulwer Health’s primary goals for the UpToDate system was an increased focus on integration of the system with clinical informatics networks to provide larger numbers of healthcare professionals with access to the system.

This integration with medical informatics systems could improve existing techniques that some medical experts say are already saving lives.

According to MedPageToday, certain features of clinical informatics networks, such as computerized physician order entry (CPOE) methods of prescribing medications, can lead to significant reductions in patient mortality rates. The news source cited a study of a Californian hospital in which the introduction of CPOE prescribing technology lowered the patient mortality rate by 20 percent.

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