We studied the impact of a clinical decision support system (CDSS) implemented in a few wards of two Italian health care organizations on the ordering of redundant laboratory tests under different perspectives: (1) analysis of the volume of tests, (2) cost analysis, (3) end-user satisfaction before and after the installation of the CDSS.
(1) and (2) were performed by comparing the ordering of laboratory tests between an intervention group of wards where a CDSS was in use and a second (control) group where a CDSS was not in use; data were compared during a 3-month period before (2014) and a 3-month period after (2015) CDSS installation. To measure end-user satisfaction (3), a questionnaire based on POESUS was administered to the medical staff.
After the introduction of the CDSS, the number of laboratory tests requested decreased by 16.44% and costs decreased by 16.53% in the intervention group, versus an increase in the number of tests (+3.75%) and of costs (+1.78%) in the control group. Feedback from practice showed that the medical staff was generally satisfied with the CDSS and perceived its benefits, but they were less satisfied with its technical performance in terms of slow response time.
The implementation of CDSSs can have a positive impact on both the efficiency of care provision and health care costs. The experience of using a CDSS can also result in good practice to be implemented by other health care organizations, considering the positive result from the first attempt to gather the point of view of end-users in Italy.