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Features of Computerized Clinical Decision Support Systems Supportive of Nursing Practice: A Literature Review


CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: October 2013 - Volume 31 - Issue 10 - p 477–495
doi: 10.1097/01.NCN.0000432127.99644.25
Continuing Education

This study aimed to organize the system features of decision support technologies targeted at nursing practice into assessment, problem identification, care plans, implementation, and outcome evaluation. It also aimed to identify the range of the five stage-related sequential decision supports that computerized clinical decision support systems provided. MEDLINE, CINAHL, and EMBASE were searched. A total of 27 studies were reviewed. The system features collected represented the characteristics of each category from patient assessment to outcome evaluation. Several features were common across the reviewed systems. For the sequential decision support, all of the reviewed systems provided decision support in sequence for patient assessment and care plans. Fewer than half of the systems included problem identification. There were only three systems operating in an implementation stage and four systems in outcome evaluation. Consequently, the key steps for sequential decision support functions were initial patient assessment, problem identification, care plan, and outcome evaluation. Providing decision support in such a full scope will effectively help nurses’ clinical decision making. By organizing the system features, a comprehensive picture of nursing practice–oriented computerized decision support systems was obtained; however, the development of a guideline for better systems should go beyond the scope of a literature review.

Author Affiliation: College of Nursing, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Missouri.

The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Seonah Lee, PhD, MSN, RN, College of Nursing, University of Missouri-St. Louis, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121 (

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.