A new study, led by researchers at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, found that using advanced clinical decision support (CDS) tools can reduce mortality for pneumonia patients.
The researchers studied the impact of an advanced computer program designed at Intermountain, which combs through a patient's medical information and risk factors in real time to alert an emergency department physician if the patient likely has pneumonia. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, it calculates severity assessment and provides management recommendations based on current North American guidelines. They found that use of the tool saved up to 12 lives over the course of a year, compared to routine care standards.
The tool can also process the radiologist's chest imaging interpretation to identify patients with radiographic evidence of pneumonia, presence of multi-lobar disease, and pleural effusion. It also extracts prior microbiology results for bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
"This tool doesn't take over for doctors, but it does assemble the needed information, calculates the patients' severity of illness and likelihood of infection with resistant bacteria, and presents recommendations to help doctors make better decisions. It's all about giving local doctors tools to be more consistent, objective, and focused on best practices," states lead author Nathan Dean, M.D., a pulmonologist and chief of critical care medicine at Intermountain Medical Center.