Background: In the past decade, numerous new imaging and laboratory tests have been implemented that significantly contribute to improved medical diagnostic capabilities. However, inappropriate utilization, which occurs on a large scale, has significant ramifications for both patient care and health systems.
Objectives: To assess the impact of a novel clinical decision support system (CDSS) applied to our electronic medical records on abdominal ultrasonography utilization pattern.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study comparing patterns of abdominal ultrasound utilization in cases of liver enzyme elevation, with and without CDSS, between February and May in 2017 (before CDSS implementation) and during the same months in 2018 (after CDSS implementation). The following parameters were collected: number of tests ordered according to the guidelines, tests with a diagnostic value, and order forms completed with any data or a diagnostic question. The comparison was conducted using chi-square test.
Results: Of 152 abdominal ultrasound tests, 72 were ordered in the pre-implementation period and 80 in the post-implementation period. The system failed to reach statistical significance regarding the rates of ordered tests according to the guidelines and/or tests with a diagnostic value. However, the use of the CDSS had a statistically significant impact regarding completing the order form with data, including a specific diagnostic question.
Conclusions: The effect of the system on the efficiency of test utilization was partial. However, our findings strongly suggested that CDSS has the potential to promote proper usage of complementary technologies.