Evaluation of the effect of decision support on the efficiency of primary care providers in the outpatient practice

Kavishwar B. Wagholikar, Ronald A. Hankey, Lindsay K. Decker, Stephen S. Cha, Robert Greenes, Hongfang Liu, Rajeev Chaudhry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical decision support (CDS) for primary care has been shown to improve delivery of preventive services. However, there is little evidence for efficiency of physicians due to CDS assistance. In this article, we report a pilot study for measuring the impact of CDS on the time spent by physicians for deciding on preventive services and chronic disease management. Methods: We randomly selected 30 patients from a primary care practice, and assigned them to 10 physicians. The physicians were requested to perform chart review to decide on preventive services and chronic disease management for the assigned patients. The patients assignment was done in a randomized crossover design, such that each patient received 2 sets of recommendations—one from a physician with CDS assistance and the other from a different physician without CDS assistance. We compared the physician recommendations made using CDS assistance, with the recommendations made without CDS assistance. Results: The physicians required an average of 1 minute 44 seconds, when they were they had access to the decision support system and 5 minutes when they were unassisted. Hence the CDS assistance resulted in an estimated saving of 3 minutes 16 seconds (65%) of the physicians’ time, which was statistically significant (P < .0001). There was no statistically significant difference in the number of recommendations. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that CDS assistance significantly reduced the time spent by physicians for deciding on preventive services and chronic disease management. The result needs to be confirmed by performing similar studies at other institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Primary Care and Community Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Chronic diseases
  • Clinical decision support systems
  • Preventive health services
  • Task performance and analysis
  • Time motion study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Community and Home Care

Cite this