Digital decision support tools and disease management solutions

Listen to Dr. Rick Pleijhuis commenting on digital decision support tools
Insights on digital decision support tools in cardiovascular care

At proCardio2022, Dr. Rick Pleijhuis (University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands) shared his insights into the use of digital decision support tools and disease management solutions in cardiovascular care. Digital decision support tools aim to improve informed clinical decision-making and ultimately provide the opportunity for personalised healthcare. A variety of digital decision support tools, e.g., algorithms, have been developed for cardiovascular care, including web-based and mobile device applications. However, from a regulatory perspective, there are several barriers to the implementation of these tools in clinical practice. Dr. Pleijhuis explains that the current landscape of digital decision support tools is fragmented and lacks standardisation. There is an absence of external validation, and it is difficult to integrate these applications into hospital infrastructures and electronic medical record systems. Dr. Pleijhuis believes a standardised approach using a centralised digital platform capable of hosting all types of digital decision support tools and external validation of applications is therefore needed. The lack of external validation and quality control may also lead to wariness among physicians regarding which digital decision support tools to trust, which can reduce their implementation. As a way forward, Dr. Pleijhuis recommends to externally validate existing digital decision support tools before developing new ones. Additionally, when developing new applications, it is important to consider system integration, its intended use and to have a plan in place for its external validation. 

Key facts
  • Digital decision support tools offer a great opportunity to improve patient long-term outcomes and experience of care.1
  • The current landscape of digital management solutions is fragmented and there is a lack of standardised approaches for the validation, certification and integration of these tools, leading to the slow uptake of digital solutions in clinical practice.
  • Key considerations when designing a digital decision support tool include system integration, defining its intended use, and having a validation plan in place.

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  1. Tromp J, et al. World Heart Federation Roadmap for Digital Health in Cardiology. Global Heart. 2022;17(1):61.