Reducing unnecessary tests reduces costs without compromising quality. We report here the effectiveness of a clinical decision support system
(CDSS) on reducing unnecessary type and screen tests and describe, estimated costs, and unnecessary provider ordering.
We used a pretest posttest design to examine unnecessary type and screen tests 3 months before and after CDSS implementation in a large academic medical center. The clinical decision support system
appears when the test order is initiated and indicates when the last test was ordered and expires. Cost savings was estimated using time-driven activity-based costing. Provider ordering before and after the CDSS was described.
There were 26,206 preintervention and 25,053 postintervention specimens. Significantly fewer unnecessary type and screen tests were ordered after the intervention (12.3%, n
= 3,073) than before (14.1%, n
= 3,691; p
< .001) representing a 12.8% overall reduction and producing an estimated yearly savings of $142,612. Physicians had the largest weighted percentage of unnecessary orders (31.5%) followed by physician assistants (28.5%) and advanced practice nurses (11.9%).
The CDSS reduced unnecessary type and screen tests and annual costs. Additional interventions directed at providers are recommended. The clinical decision support system
can be used to guide all providers to make judicious decisions at the time of care.