The range of technologies available for use in healthcare today is enormous. From innovative patient monitoring devices, wireless tablet computers through to new software and clinical portals, patients and professionals can benefit from the technology now available.
Yet, however innovative new technologies are, it’s often the case that the best care decisions are made by dedicated professional staff who are given access to high quality information in a timely manner. Decision support for care providers should be just that: technology providing the information and context to allow the care giver to make the best choice for and with their patient.
The role of technology will include giving staff access to high quality information regardless of their location, presenting information in a clear and accessible manner, and bringing together information from a wide range of sources.
In this way, the people who have spent years training for their role are able to use their skill and experience in the most effective manner by making judgements based on complete information.
Decision support tools are a vital component in the modern healthcare system. This week, the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced that it will be releasing decision support software and algorithms to enhance the tools available to General Practitioners. Software of this kind will contribute to the consistency and quality of decisions, and hopefully to better outcomes for patients whether in primary or secondary care settings.
As providers of technology, we continually consider how our products can make care easier to plan and provide, more efficient and capable of delivering better outcomes for patients. The inclusion of decision support is a vital part of this work, but it is always balanced by the requirement to keep the human decision-maker at the heart of the process.