Clinical decision support (CDS) has the ability to significantly impact improvements in quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has long supported efforts to develop, adopt, implement, and evaluate the use of CDS to improve health care decisionmaking.
Increasingly, innovative computer and information systems are being developed to help people manage health concerns, monitor important indicators of their health, and communicate with their caregivers. AHRQ supports research to determine how these patient-facing technologies can best improve the quality and effectiveness of care.
Research is needed in two key areas: how health IT can improve patient safety and how health IT itself can be safely used and implemented. AHRQ-funded research provides critical evidence in both areas, and the Program recently renewed a special emphasis notice reaffirming the intent to support research regarding the safety of health IT systems.
AHRQ’s usability research focuses on how to design and implement electronic health records (EHRs) so that they are more intuitive to use and more readily support clinical workflow. Two areas of research, supported by the AHRQ projects below, are how to effectively reduce documentation burden for physicians and how to make data within EHRs more usable for clinical decision-making.