The Impact of Clinical Decision Support Alerts on Clostridioides difficile Testing: A Systematic Review.

TitleThe Impact of Clinical Decision Support Alerts on Clostridioides difficile Testing: A Systematic Review.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsDunn AN, Radakovich N, Ancker JS, Donskey CJ, Deshpande A
JournalClin Infect Dis
Date Published2020 Feb 15

OBJECTIVE: Several studies have investigated the utility of electronic decision support alerts in diagnostic stewardship for Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI). However, it is unclear if alerts are effective in reducing inappropriate CDI testing and/or CDI rates. The aim of this systematic review was to determine if alerts related to CDI diagnostic stewardship are effective at reducing inappropriate CDI testing volume and CDI rates among hospitalized adult patients.

DESIGN: We searched Ovid MEDLINE and 5 other databases for original studies evaluating the association between alerts for CDI diagnosis and CDI testing volume and/or CDI rate. Two investigators independently extracted data on study characteristics, study design, alert triggers, co-interventions, and study outcomes.

RESULTS: Eleven studies met criteria for inclusion. Studies varied significantly in alert triggers and in study outcomes. Six of eleven studies demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in CDI testing volume, six of six studies evaluating appropriateness of CDI testing found a significant reduction in the proportion of inappropriate testing, and four of seven studies measuring CDI rate demonstrated a significant decrease in the CDI rate in the post- vs pre-intervention periods. The magnitude of the increase in appropriate CDI testing varied, with some studies reporting an increase with minimal clinical significance.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of electronic alerts for diagnostic stewardship for C. difficile was associated with reductions in CDI testing, the proportion of inappropriate CDI testing, and rates of CDI in most studies. However, broader concerns related to alerts remain understudied, including unintended adverse consequences and alert fatigue.

Alternate JournalClin. Infect. Dis.
PubMed ID32060501
Health Informatics
Faculty Publication