Collaborative design and implementation of a clinical decision support system for automated fall-risk identification and referrals in emergency departments

Of the 3 million older adults seeking fall-related emergency care each year, nearly one-third visited the Emergency Department (ED) in the previous 6 months. ED providers have a great opportunity to refer patients for fall prevention services at these initial visits, but lack feasible tools for identifying those at highest-risk. Existing fall screening tools have been poorly adopted due to ED staff/provider burden and lack of workflow integration. To address this, this study from HIP Investigators Dr. Brian Patterson and Dr. Maureen Smith developed an automated clinical decision support (CDS) system for identifying and referring older adult ED patients at risk of future falls.

They engaged an interdisciplinary design team (ED providers, health services researchers, information technology/predictive analytics professionals, and outpatient Falls Clinic staff) to collaboratively develop a system that successfully met user requirements and integrated seamlessly into existing ED workflows. Successful CDS design and implementation required integration of multiple new technologies and processes into existing workflows, necessitating interdisciplinary collaboration from the onset. 

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