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Table 2 Potential outcome measures for the evaluation of alerts in CDS

From: On the alert: future priorities for alerts in clinical decision support for computerized physician order entry identified from a European workshop

Suggested outcome measure Comments
Patient harm This entails identifying patient harms specific to the prescribing process that may be prevented by CDS; and then establishing their relative importance.
Length of stay in hospital This measure has the benefit of being easily measured, but depends on several factors other than the quality of prescribing.
Mortality Again, this measure has the benefit of being easily measured, but depends on several factors other than the quality of prescribing.
Quality measures The National Quality Forum in the USA has developed quality measurements and test cases in order to capture medical decision making and a direct link between decision process and quality of care [52].
Measures of clinical improvement Some examples include decreased fever and falling white cell count.
Medication errors [53] It is difficult to identify and often to define actual medication errors and perhaps even more challenging to establish the potential harm caused by these errors.
Costs These may be an appropriate outcome measure, but the workshop’s view was that the primary aim of CDS is to minimize harm, not cost.