April 23—The use of decision support alerts with a computerized physician-order entry (CPOE) system could reduce the number of ordered duplicate computerized tomography (CT) scans, thus lowering imaging costs and decreasing unnecessary patient exposure to radiation, according to a research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Physicians who received duplicate decision support (DDS) alerts canceled their CT scans about 6 percent of the time, compared with a 0.9 percent cancel rate among physicians in the study who did not see an alert.

Researchers entered all CT orders into the CPOE system at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, from Jan. 1, 2010, to May 31, 2010. Physicians received a DDS alert when they ordered a potentially redundant CT scan for patients who had undergone a scan on the same body part within the past 90 days. Links to the images and radiology reports for the prior CT examinations were displayed, and physicians could proceed with, cancel, or abandon the order.

Publication Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013