Clinical Decision Support Systems within Behavioral Healthcare Settings

There is a compelling need for Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS) in electronic health records (EHRs). Not only it is a requirement to achieve Meaningful Use and receive incentives, it is arguably the only way for clinicians of all types to take full advantage of the knowledge available to them. While literature and studies support CDSS, behavioral health care has lagged behind primary care in the use of such systems. The reluctance of behavioral health care to embrace these technologies is due, in part, to the lack of clear standards of care and quantifiable indicators used by behavioral health care providers, whereas medical providers have had a wealth of measurement tools available to them which can be automated into “order sets” and CDSS.

As the health care industry evolves to a pay-for-performance model, we are seeing increased demands for clinical accountability in behavioral healthcare. There is a wealth of data about clinical effectiveness in our industry. Those who have historically tried to oppose these trends on the grounds that behavioral health care is “an art not a science” will fail. These trends will lead to more measurement and more standardization of treatment. Ultimately, they will generate the need for CDSS.

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