Clinical decision supports

Clinical decision supports are information technology solutions designed to assist healthcare professionals in making clinical decisions and/or to help healthcare service users better evaluate decisions regarding their health 

Why are decision supports needed in healthcare?

Decision supports have the potential for a strong impact on improving the quality of care and patient safety. Decision supports include software solutions that provide alerts and reminders to support physicians and other healthcare professionals in making clinical decisions. Additionally, algorithms can be used or access granted to extensive databases containing clinical guidelines, summaries of treatment decisions, imaging materials, audio files, diagnostic support, and documentation-assisting calculators or templates. Decision support provides reminders for preventive care, warns of potentially dangerous drug interactions, and informs about unnecessary ordering of tests and analyses.

The aim of decision supports is to reduce costs, improve and enhance patient safety, and save healthcare professionals' time by streamlining the gathering of necessary information.

How does decision supports work?

Decision supports are constantly developed and improved, therefore the understanding of what constitutes decision support is also evolving. We highlight three clinical decision support services with different principles:

  • Patient-specific decision supports provide specific alerts about an individual, taking into account the patient data stored in the electronic health record.
  • Knowledge-based decision supports enable quick access to clinical guidelines and digital databases, helping to find the most up-to-date guidelines and scientific articles.
  • Clinical calculators, which help speed up clinical work and avoid potential errors, such as calculating risk scores for various conditions.

The latest developments:

  • Starting from 2023, healthcare workers have access to the knowledge-based decision support.
  • Starting from 2020, the patient-specific decision support  is available at the primary care level.
  • Starting from 2016, users of the prescription center have access to the drug interaction service.

Future plans:

  • To support the transition to a healthcare system based on health outcomes funding.
  • To increasingly incorporate algorithms based on Estonian treatment guidelines into decision support services.
  • To train and support users of clinical decision support services.
  • To expand the user network through training and support.
  • To analyze opportunities for expanding decision support services to accelerate the adoption of solutions.


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