Clinical decision support is an emerging type of healthcare information technology that aims to actively guide doctors’ decision-making processes. In its various forms, it can help physicians design treatment regimens, regulate dosage, avoid potentially harmful drug interactions and allergies, order preventative screenings, and even establish a diagnosis.
This project is a journalistic investigation of this new technology, its applications, and its effect on the medical profession. It examines two decision support systems, Partners Healthcare‘s clinical reminder system, and Logical Images’ product VisualDx, in order to explore the potential for these technologies and how their use may change the practice of medicine. Through extensive interviews of experts in medicine, healthcare IT, and healthcare policy, it considers the major problems in implementing decision support, with emphasis on how the technology may affect doctors’ autonomy, and how physicians’ financial and professional incentives may influence how it is used.