Patient-specific evidence-based care recommendations for diabetes mellitus: development and initial clinic experience with a computerized decision support system
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BACKGROUND: adherence with evidence-based recommendations for chronic disease management is often suboptimal. Providing patient-specific reminders at the time of clinical encounters has the potential to improve this situation. A necessary prerequisite for providing such reminders, however, is to have an efficient means of acquiring patient information that can be matched to an underlying knowledge base. The decision support system: we have developed a computer-based, self-administered questionnaire for diabetes care. The questionnaire assesses numerous diabetes-related topics. Patients complete the questionnaire using a touchscreen interface, and their responses are then matched to evidence-based guidelines so that patient-specific care suggestions can be provided for both the patients and their health care professionals. The guidelines are derived from a database of abstracts of studies of diabetes care that are screened for scientific merit and clinical relevance, supplemented by recommendations from diabetes organizations. EVALUATION: initial evaluation of the system included an assessment of the agreement of responses to the automated questionnaire with responses to similar questions administered during a structured, personal interview. Overall agreement was 92.5% and the majority of disagreements were minor. More recently, patients aged 18-69 years have been completing the automated questionnaire before appointments at a diabetes clinic. The average time required has been 10.9 min and a mean of 3.0 recommendations have been provided per patient. Patient and health care practitioner satisfaction with the questionnaire and the patient-specific feedback have been high. CONCLUSIONS: evidence-based patient-specific diabetes care recommendations can be provided using a self-administered computer-based questionnaire.
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