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Ann Intern Med. 2001 Feb 20;134(4):274-81.

Assessment of decision support for blood test ordering in primary care. a randomized trial.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, the Netherlands. wijk@mi.fgg.eur.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Different methods for changing blood test-ordering behavior in primary care have been proven effective. However, randomized trials comparing these methods are lacking.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the effect of two versions of BloodLink, a computer-based clinical decision support system, on blood test ordering among general practitioners.

DESIGN:

Randomized trial.

SETTING:

44 practices of general practitioners in the region of Delft, the Netherlands.

PARTICIPANTS:

60 general practitioners in 44 practices who used computer-based patient records in their practices.

INTERVENTION:

After stratification by solo practices and group practices, practices were randomly assigned to use BloodLink-Restricted, which initially displays a reduced list of tests, or BloodLink-Guideline, which is based on the guidelines of the Dutch College of General Practitioners.

MEASUREMENTS:

Average number of blood tests ordered per order form per practice.

RESULTS:

General practitioners who used BloodLink-Guideline requested 20% fewer tests on average than did practitioners who used BloodLink-Restricted (mean [+/-SD], 5.5 +/- 0.9 tests vs. 6.9 +/- 1.6 tests, respectively; P = 0.003, Mann-Whitney test).

CONCLUSIONS:

Decision support based on guidelines is more effective in changing blood test-ordering behavior than is decision support based on initially displaying a limited number of tests. Guideline-driven decision support systems can be effective in reducing the number of laboratory tests ordered by primary care practitioners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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