Patients Less Satisfied With Doctors Who Use Decision Support Tools

Patients view physicians who use clinical decision support tools more negatively than doctors who do not use the tools or choose to consult a colleague, according to a study published in the journal Medical Decision Making, FierceEMR reports.

For the study, University of Missouri researchers conducted three separate experiments to assess how patients view physician use of clinical decision support tools.

Study Findings

Compared with patients whose physicians did not use clinical decision support tools, researchers found that patients whose physicians used the tools:

  • Viewed their doctors as less capable;
  • Were less satisfied with their care; and
  • Potentially were less likely to comply with treatment recommendations (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 1/28).

However, researchers found that patients were less likely to blame doctors for negative health outcomes when clinical decision support tools were used, suggesting that the technology could provide some protection against litigation (University of Missouri release, 1/24).

The researchers speculated that patients might object to the use of clinical decision support tools because they:

  • View the technology as impersonal;
  • Generally distrust computer systems; and
  • Believe the tools result in a loss of face-to-face time with their physician (FierceEMR, 1/28).

Comments on Study

Victoria Shaffer -- study author and assistant professor of health sciences and psychological sciences at the University of Missouri -- said physicians could address patients' concerns about clinical decision support tools by using the technology to better engage patients in their care. She said that physicians can use the systems "as teaching tools to explain their diagnoses using pictures or graphs, which make the patients' experiences much more interactive and educational."

Shaffer called for further research on whether educating patients about the benefits of clinical decision support tools would lessen their concerns (University of Missouri release, 1/24).

Conner barrett
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Stephen Wilkins
Are these finding really that surprising? Clinicians and policy wonks have come to the conclusion that patients need to take more responsibility for their health. It's good for patients to be more engaged...and knowledgeable. Plus, it off loads some of the work from otherwise over burdened clinicians. The only problem is that despite all the "chatter" in the health literature about the need for patients to be "more engaged"... we as an industry haven't done anything at all to help patients make the shift from their traditional passive, sick role...to that of an engaged and empowered partner. Where have we explained to the patient why the decision support tools and HIT? All consumers hear is that HIT will soon replace their doctor and they don't want that. There was s recent study which showed that while people would like access to e-mail visit, EMR, and the like...85% still wanted to know that they could see their doctor face to face where they wanted to.
Darwin Scholes
I agree with what Victoria has to say on this. Patients need to be totally aware of the tools being used during operation. http://www.genericviagra123.com/
Paul Kleeberg
Good grief! In the scenario, they needed to use a decision aid for an ankle injury! Of course they would be viewed negatively. That is such a simple exam to rule out a fracture and not have to order an x-ray. Given the scenario, the x-ray was appropriate but I am not sure how he was able to walk on it with a walking stick, or get on the scale! This article (and I would assume the other ones that were critical of CDS) were using a narrow definition of CDS. Not a very good article.

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