Reducing diagnostic error with computer-based clinical decision support

Robert Greenes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Information technology approaches to delivering diagnostic clinical decision support (CDS) are the subject of the papers to follow in the proceedings. These will address the history of CDS and present day approaches (Miller), evaluation of diagnostic CDS methods (Friedman), and the role of clinical documentation in supporting diagnostic decision making (Schiff). In addition, several other considerations relating to this topic are interesting to ponder. We are moving toward increased understanding of gene regulation and gene expression, identification of biomarkers, and the ability to predict patient response to disease and to tailor treatments to these individual variations-referred to as "personalized" or, more recently, "predictive" medicine. Consequently, diagnostic decision making is more and more linked to management decision making, and generic diagnostic labels like "diabetes" or "colon cancer" will no longer be sufficient, because they don't tell us what to do. Ultimately, if we have more complete data including more structured capture of phenomic data as well as the characterization of the patient's genome, direct prediction from responses of highly refined subsets of similar patients in a database can be used to select appropriate management, the effectiveness of which was demonstrated in projects in selected limited domains as early as the 1970s. In general, there are six classes of methodologies, including the above, which can be applied to delivering CDS. In addition, patients are becoming more knowledgeable and should be regarded as active participants, not only in helping to obtain data but also in their own status assessment and as recipients of decision support. With the above advances, this is a very promising time to be engaged in pursuit of methods of CDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-87
Number of pages5
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Issue number1 SUPPL
StatePublished - 2009


  • Database prediction
  • Decision support
  • Diagnostic process
  • Personalized medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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