Clinical Decision Support (CDS) is an AI-based development of health informatics that on the whole aims at improving the decision-making by clinicians, medical staff, and patients during the clinical workflow for enhancing healthcare. Many clinicians wrongly interpret CDS restricting it to only as health prompts, reminders, and alerts. However, Clinical Decision Support or Medical Decision Support (an interchangeably used term specifically by patients for CDS) is beyond just reminders and alerts. Let’s have a clearer definition and interpretation of CDS. 

What is Clinical Decision Support? 

CDS is a health information technology that encompasses various computerized and non-computerized tools, including alerts & reminders, order sets, clinical guidelines, templates, infobuttons, diagnostic support, and patient data reports. It is designed to provide clinicians, patients, and other health professionals with intelligent assistance for improved decision-making at the point of care. CDS combines health knowledge and observation of the patient data, then intelligently analyzes it, and comes up with various patient-specific possible diagnoses to support the clinicians for making the right decision. It doesn’t come up with the final diagnosis but it gives clinicians and patients the best possible suggestions for diagnosis using its artificial intelligence.  

In other words, CDS is a health IT tool that provides intelligently-filtered health-related or patient-specific information to clinicians, medical staff, and patients at the right time and at the right place to facilitate healthcare and improve decision-making in clinical encounters. 

How Does CDS Work? 

Understanding the functionality of CDS is a little complex as it comprises many sophisticated components. Primarily, it consists of two parts: the knowledge base and the non-knowledge base. The knowledge base includes computable medical knowledge and patient-specific data while the non-knowledge base consists of a reasoning or an inference mechanism. Both parts work together to combine the input and knowledge that is already stored in its storage by default, and then analyze it to produce better outcomes. 

CDS is a versatile health IT tool that is capable of performing various tasks at the point of care. When a physician gives input to medical decision support system in the form of a patient’s health-related data, the non-knowledge base analyzes the data with the information already stored in the knowledge base by default to find out various effective diagnoses that can be a perfect solution for the patient according to his/her medical condition. 

CDS is also significantly used for:

Storing patients' clinical data and keeping a record of it.

Accessing medicine administration guidelines.

Finding crucial health-related information through infobuttons.

Accessing reference information.

Setting up the alerts and reminders for various clinical procedures, like medication administration.

Tailoring templates or order sets 

Identifying required preventive care screenings

The Importance of CDS 

Many health professionals do not give much importance to the Clinical Decision Support system because they think CDS suggests what they already know. Some clinicians even feel bothered by CDS due to frequent health alerts and reminders. They think these things interrupt their clinical procedures. However, this is a negative way of thinking. Think of another way and let's be practical. Being a clinician, you have to deal with many patients with different medical conditions a day. Usually, it is very hectic. Remembering the medical proceedings accurately of every patient you deal with in a day is practically not possible. You need clinical data and some sort of health reminders to provide better care to patients. That's where CDS plays a crucial role. 

On the other hand, sometimes, clinicians can get confused about making the right decision for diagnosis either due to the complex case or in the lack of enough exposure. Here CDS proves to be effective to assist the clinicians accurately. 

Check out some of the most significant benefits of Clinical Decision Support below.

Enhanced Quality of Care

Better Health Outcomes

Avoidance of Errors

Faster Clinical Procedures


Better Decision-Making 

Reduced Inconvenience For Patients

Increased Health Safety 

Cost Benefits

On the whole, it is right to say that Clinical Decision Support is an effective health IT tool that facilitates clinical procedures and promotes improved decision-making at the point of care. Visit Medical Algorithm to know more about Clinical Decision Support (CDS).