BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2021 Jan 18;21(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s12911-020-01384-8.
BACKGROUND: Studies have revealed inappropriate laboratory testing as a source of waste. This review aimed at evaluating the effects and features of CDSSs on physicians' appropriate laboratory test ordering in inpatient hospitals.
METHOD: Medline through PubMed, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and Cochrane were queried without any time period restriction. Studies using CDSSs as an intervention to improve laboratory test ordering as the primary aim were included. The study populations in the included studies were laboratory tests, physicians ordering laboratory tests, or the patients for whom laboratory tests were ordered. The included papers were evaluated for their outcomes related to the effect of CDSSs which were categorized based on the outcomes related to tests, physician, and patients. The primary outcome measures were the number and cost of the ordered laboratory tests. The instrument from The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) was used to assess the quality of the included studies. Moreover, we applied a checklist for assessing the quality and features of the CDSSs presented in the included studies. A narrative synthesis was used to describe and compare the designs and the results of included studies.
RESULT: Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies were conducted based on a quasi-experimental design. The results showed improvement in laboratory test-related outcomes (e.g. proportion and cost of tests) and also physician-related outcomes (e.g. guideline adherence and orders cancellation). Patient-related outcomes (e.g. length of stay and mortality rate) were not well investigated in the included studies. In addition, the evidence about applying CDSS as a decision aid for interpreting laboratory results was rare.
CONCLUSION: CDSSs increase appropriate test ordering in hospitals through eliminating redundant test orders and enhancing evidence-based practice. Appropriate testing and cost saving were both affected by the CDSSs. However, the evidence is limited about the effects of laboratory test CDSSs on patient-related outcomes.