Term: Computerized Protocol

Description: Computerized Protocol are medical/clinical guidelines that have been computerized to allow information to be streamlined to help clinicians make proper healthcare decisions based upon data/information that is more inclusive (includes access to a more robust collection of medical information) than a clinician or desktop library of medical tomes and journals. Computerized protocols may recommend diagnosis, as well as treatment options based upon all available data to the system, which can be updated to reflect the latest available medical knowledge, the patient’s electronic medical and health records (EMR & EHR), and interact directly with the patient for unique information that is real-time. The following systems are a part of, or contribute to computerized protocol systems and may work in concert or individually: DDS, EBM, and CPOE.

People are limited in their ability to make decisions based on all available information. In some cases, the difference between this limitation and the availability of extensive data is the difference in performance and higher error rates among clinicians. “The use of decision-support tools is a response to both the information revolution and poor compliance. Computerized protocols used to deliver decision support can be configured to contain much more detail than textual guidelines or paper-based flow diagrams. Such protocols can generate patient-specific instructions for therapy that can be carried out with little interclinician variability…”. (Alan H. Morris, MD; March 7 2000, Developing and Implementing Computerized Protocols for Standardization of Clinical Decisions)

As described by Morris MD, the systems themselves can interact directly with the patient in order to distribute prescribed medication via other devices attached to the ‘computerized protocol’ system, as well as page a nurse, order a test, etc. Patients and clinicians can look forward to having medication precisely monitored and distributed according to instant feedback from the patient via electronic monitors, which will save on cost all around.

Many clinicians are seeing the benefits of these systems, as are the patients.

Web Resources: http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/abstract/132/5/373


Related Terminology: Clinical Guidelines, Decision Support System (DSS), Evidence Based Medicine (EBM), Computer-based Provider Order Entry (CPOE) Citations/References: Alan H. Morris, MD, March 7 2000, Developing and Implementing Computerized Protocols for Standardization of Clinical Decisions

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