Pros and Cons of Clinical Decision Support Systems


As technology advances, almost every healthcare facility has an Electronic Health Record (EHR). This is a computerized system that stores patient records such as medical history, past medications, and next of kin. To make decisions, the health care facilities have to analyze the stored information. This is possible through clinical decision support systems (CDSS). These are digital systems that help provide prompts and alerts to the health care providers to implement evidence-based guidelines for the patients (Muhiyaddin et al., 2020). The system has improved efficiency in making decisions regarding the patients’ conditions, hence, saving lives. However, it has several drawbacks, such as creating anxiety to clinicians who may have workloads (Sutton et al., 2020). This discussion delves into the benefits and drawbacks that CDSS has in health care settings and provides a scenario where, as a future advanced practice nurse (APN), I might use CDSS in making medical decisions.

The table below shows the pros and cons of the CDSS system and provides a rationale for each point.

Pros Rationale Cons Rationale
Reduces the risk of medical errors The reason for this benefit here is to affirm how the CDSS helps clinicians make decisions regarding dosages. Making calculations regarding the type of medication and the dose can be daunting. The CDSS helps the healthcare team and easy and quick access to calculators for specific drugs, as well as the full drug monographs based on age, weight, and illness (Sutton et al., 2020). Such information increases accuracy and reduces errors. The continuous CDSS alerts may cause fatigue to the clinicians who already have workloads. The CDSS is meant to give alerts to the healthcare providers to make evidence-based decisions regarding the patient’s life. However, when the alerts are too many, they may be bothersome, and some clinicians may ignore them, endangering the lives of the victims (Sutton et al., 2020). Moreover, if the alerts are similar, such that an alert for a high-value need is the same as a low-value one, the clinicians may not give weight as required. Therefore, it is imperative to differentiate the alerts to encourage quick response to critical conditions.
It reduces misdiagnosis; clinicians use the information in the CDSS to make evidence-based decisions and avoid misdiagnosing diseases. The rationale for this point here is to bring to light that the majority of healthcare medical errors are a result of the wrong diagnosis. Such may be caused by cognitive errors, disease processes that are not common, and biasness, among other factors (Sutton et al., 2020). However, the use of CDSS helps eliminate this problem. The CDSS may fail to detect medication errors. This is likely to happen if it breaks down or other technical failures. The reason for having this drawback is due to its impact on the patient’s life. The CDSS should trigger the clinicians to help the victim in case of an adverse drug event or an error in medication. If the system fails to send a prompt alert, then the life of the patient may be at great risk.
CDSS provides health care providers with reliable information that is consistent This point is crucial in explaining how CDSS is important in providing clinicians with information. At times, the healthcare providers may be fixed to make an evidence-based decision about a certain condition. This situation can be perplexing if there is no dedicated information available (Teufel & Binder, 2021). For instance, if the healthcare provider uses internet search engines, that may return thousands of results, and the decision is required for a critical condition. The CDSS solves this problem by ensuring that the clinicians have reliable information in making relevant decisions. CDSS may lead to too much over dependence even in making simple decisions. The rationale for this point is to explain how the presence of CDSS may make health care providers reluctant to use their brains. Thus, since the computerized system can generate patterns and help them make decisions easily, they lag behind and never utilize their brains (Teufel & Binder, 2021). This way, in case of a problem, they may not be able to give an account. Moreover, if the system fails, it may be hard for them to give medication effectively. Therefore, the health care providers should exercise their knowledge and not entirely depend on the system.

Advanced practice nurses (APN) are crucial in a health care setting. They are certified to see patients even in the absence of doctors and make essential medical decisions regarding their patients (Werner et al., 2021). They have access to CDSS that helps them make evidence-based decisions about a victim, just as any other clinician. As a future APN, I expect to address various medical cases. For instance, I will handle patients in an outpatient setting, including several diagnostic tests to determine what the victim is suffering from. I will also be required to prescribe medication to them based on the diagnosis.


Suppose I have a woman as a patient who complains of headache, nausea, tiredness, fevers, and backache. It may be challenging to determine what she suffers from unless I do the necessary diagnostic tests. The symptoms may imply that she has malaria, or she may be pregnant. Therefore, I will use the CDSS to determine the most relevant diagnostic test. It will help me know that for the woman to be pregnant, she should have missed monthly periods. Thus, I will go ahead and enquire about her last monthly period. If it was missed, then it implies that the lady might be pregnant, and I should send her for a pregnancy test.

Nonetheless, if the patient’s periods are still undisrupted, I should send the victim for a malaria test or another possible test that CDSS proposes. However, the system should be able to provide me with other possible symptoms that I should confirm with the patient before deciding on the final test she should undergo. After the laboratory test, if the woman is suffering from malaria, the CDSS will help me with the specific drug calculator to determine the required dosage based on her age and weight. Admittedly, the CDSS helps clinicians make the right diagnosis and accurate medications. Similarly, it will influence my decisions as a future APN, as shown in the above scenario.


In conclusion, CDSS is essential in health care; it increases efficiency in diagnosis, reduces medical errors, and provides care providers with reliable and consistent information required to make evidence-based decisions. On the contrary, the CDSS may lead to system overdependence, whereby clinicians avoid using their brains if the system fails to send the required medical alerts, and the patient’s life may be at risk. Lastly, the continuous CDSS alerts may make the health care providers anxious in case they have workloads.


Muhiyaddin, R., Abd-Alrazaq, A. A., Househ, M., Alam, T., & Shah, Z. (2020). The impact of clinical decision support systems (CDSS) on physicians: A scoping review. The Importance of Health Informatics in Public Health during a Pandemic, 470-473. Web.

Sutton, R. T., Pincock, D., Baumgart, D. C., Sadowski, D. C., Fedorak, R. N., & Kroeker, K. I. (2020). An overview of clinical decision support systems: benefits, risks, and strategies for success. NPJ Digital Medicine, 3(1), 1-10. Web.

Teufel, A., & Binder, H. (2021). Clinical Decision Support Systems. Visceral Medicine, 37(6), 491-498. Web.

Werner, J., Dimitriadou-Xanthopoulou, N., Knisch-Wesemann, A., & Meissner, K. (2021). As advanced practice nurse actively shaping nursing practice-A reflection. Pflege. Web.

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