Computer-based CDSS has the potential value of advancing patient treatment and outcomes. The support system entails the input of patient-specific clinical variables by the clinician and the provision of a patient-specific recommendation. For example, the most common form of support systems are drug dosing calculators which facilitate appropriate doses of medication after the clinician inputs key data.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an essential component of CDSS. EBM refers to the distillation of mass medical information and standards into treatment protocols for diseases and preventive care procedures. Evidence-based medicine involves four essential requirements to work efficiently. They include formulation of clear clinical questions from a patient’s problem, literature review on relevant clinical articles, critical evaluation of the evidence of the information, its validity, and importance, and implementation of the useful findings in medical practice.
The advantages of EBM include the ability to integrate medical education with clinical practice. It has been found that students and doctors who use EBM become very efficient in their profession and are able to generate a patient’s questions that are of clinical importance. Secondly, the method can be adapted easily by people from diverse backgrounds and at any stage in their careers. It improves health care by providing common approaches and guidelines developed by the practitioners.
EBM has played an integral role in facilitating the use of limited resources to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of treatments and services. For example, it has been shown clearly that giving steroids to women to lower premature labor greatly affects infant respiration increasing its mortality. Other benefits include the ability to enhance clinician knowledge and understanding of research methods using the data provided. Moreover, it boosts the clinician’s confidence in decision making and improves their computer literacy as well as data searching techniques. EBM improves the communication between the patient and the clinician. Evidence-based medicine ensures consistent, high quality and safety standards in medical practice. It speeds up the process of transferring clinical research findings into practice which potentially reduces the health care costs significantly.
The disadvantages of the model include, first, the time factor. This model consumes a lot of time to learn and practice. It is also very expensive. The hospital will require a lot of money to purchase computer software and hardware and also in maintaining them. Inevitably, EBM is known to expose omissions in the evidence. This can cause frustration, especially for student practitioners.