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Nursing Informatics: Decision-Making Software Research Guide


Decision-Making Software Research Guide


Companies producing and selling decision-making software (DMS) for healthcare providers each have websites that explain features, costs, benefits, testimonials, and much more about their products. Once you select a specific company’s software to analyze, find its webpage and review this information.

Locating peer-reviewed studies in a library database will allow you compare the objective results of researchers with the more glowing descriptions you likely encountered on the company websites. 

Of all the software’s features, you will analyze one in depth for your assignment. Common features include:

  • computerized alerts and reminders
  • clinical guidelines
  • health literacy resources 
  • drug information
  • organizational policies and procedures 
  • evidence-based research 
  • clinical order sets and protocols


The feature you select for analysis will provide your initial “keyword” for searching in a library database. By combining “decision making software” AND “clinical guidelines” in your database search, you will likely find studies that have examined the use and value of this particular element of DMS.

Remember that DMS are also referred to by several other names, including clinical decision support systems, computerized decision support systems, etc. Be careful not to limit your searches by using only one of these terms.

Also, explore the subject headings used by a particular database to classify articles about DMS. In Health—EBSCO or PubMed, for example, you can run a search using the subject heading Decision Making, Computer Assisted; be sure to set the dropdown field to Subject Terms when searching by database-assigned subject. Your search query should look something like this:

If the results are too limited, consider searching with additional Subject Terms on closely related topics. Quality assurance, clinical governance, AND/OR quality of nursing care, for example, may be used with practice guidelines to yield additional relevant studies if this is your area of focus. 


Within the studies you find, concentrate on the conclusions the researchers reach regarding cost vs. benefits, patient outcomes, and patient safety.






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