Computerized Advisory Decision Support for Cardiovascular Diseases in Primary Care: A Cluster Randomized Trial

Paul M. McKie, Daryl J. Kor, David A. Cook, Maya E. Kessler, Rickey E. Carter, Patrick M. Wilson, Laurie J. Pencille, Branden C. Hickey, Rajeev Chaudhry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: The purpose of this research was to evaluate the impact of an outpatient computerized advisory clinical decision support system (CDSS) on adherence to guideline-recommended treatment for heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and hyperlipidemia. Methods: Twenty care teams (109 clinicians) in a primary care practice were cluster-randomized to either access or no access to an advisory CDSS integrated into the electronic medical record. For patients with an outpatient visit, the CDSS determined if they had heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, hyperlipidemia, or atrial fibrillation; and if so, was the patient receiving guideline-recommended treatment. In the intervention group, an alert was visible in the medical record if there was a discrepancy between current and guideline-recommended treatment. Clicking the alert displayed the treatment discrepancy and recommended treatment. Outcomes included prescribing patterns, self-reported use of decision aids, and self-reported efficiency. The trial was conducted between May 1 and November 15, 2016, and incorporated 16,310 patient visits. Results: The advisory CDSS increased adherence to guideline-recommended treatment for heart failure (odds ratio [OR] 7.6, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2, 47.5) but had no impact in atrial fibrillation (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.15, 5.94) or hyperlipidemia (OR 1.1, 95% CI 0.6, 1.8). Clinicians with access to the CDSS self-reported greater use of risk assessment tools for heart failure (3.6 [1.1] vs 2.7 [1.0], mean [standard deviation] on a 5-point scale) but not for atrial fibrillation or hyperlipidemia. The CDSS did not impact self-assessed efficiency. The overall usage of the CDSS was low (19%). Conclusions: A computerized advisory CDSS improved adherence to guideline-recommended treatment for heart failure but not for atrial fibrillation or hyperlipidemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020



  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Clinical decision support
  • Electronic medical record
  • Heart failure
  • Hyperlipidemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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