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Table 1 Assessment of a variety of aids to clinical decisions by decision tool criteria

From: Decision tools in health care: focus on the problem, not the solution

  Characteristics of decision tools
Tool User Designed to aid clinical decisions by health professional or patient? Target decision Decisions about a real individual patient? Knowledge component Does tool use knowledge to assist interpretation or aid clinical decision making Timing Is tool used before health professional or patient makes the relevant decision?
1. Computerized reminder system for preventive care (e.g. Dexter et al [12]) Yes Yes Yes Yes
2. Paper reminder to check for sign X, take into account symptom Y or take action Z when seeing a patient (e.g. Bryce et al [26] and Eccles et al [11]) Yes Yes Yes Yes
3. Care pathway (e.g. Holtzman et al [27]) Yes Yes Yes Yes
4. Tool to enhance shared decision making [28] Yes Yes Yes Yes
5. Computerised patient interviewing (checklist for patient to complete, after which the data are presented to the doctor in summary form (e.g. Lilford et al [29]) Yes Yes Yes Yes
6. Sheet for doctor giving definitions of clinical findings in acute abdominal pain or advice on how to elicit them Yes Yes Yes Yes
7. Nomograms Yes Yes Yes Yes
8. Joint British Societies coronary risk prediction charts [2] Yes Yes Yes Yes
9. Telemedicine system [30] Yes Yes Yes Yes
10. Information leaflet for patient with acute abdominal pain Yes Yes Yes Yes
11. Sheet summarising results of special investigations with advice on interpreting results Yes Yes Yes Yes
12. Distance learning material used away from patients (e.g. in a course, or self-study) (see examples in Davis et al [31]) Yes No Yes No
13. Monthly performance feedback report (i.e. giving doctors feedback about their performance on previous groups of patients) Yes No No Yes
14. Computer simulator to help doctors develop their diagnostic skills (e.g. Hoffer & Barnett [32]) Yes No Yes Yes
15. Imaging investigation, e.g. ultrasonography, computed tomography Yes Yes No Yes
16. Laboratory test, e.g. white cell count, C-reactive protein Yes Yes No Yes
17. Audit on clinical activities in a GP surgery No No No No