Joint Design with Providers of Clinical Decision Support for Value-Based Advanced Shoulder Imaging

Michael C. Brunner, Scott E. Sheehan, Eric M. Yanke, Dean F. Sittig, Nasia Safdar, Barbara Hill, Kenneth S. Lee, John F. Orwin, David J. Vanness, Christopher J. Hildebrand, Michael A. Bruno, Timothy J. Erickson, Ryan Zea, D. Paul Moberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background Provider orders for inappropriate advanced imaging, while rarely altering patient management, contribute enough to the strain on available health care resources, and therefore the United States Congress established the Appropriate Use Criteria Program. Objectives To examine whether co-designing clinical decision support (CDS) with referring providers will reduce barriers to adoption and facilitate more appropriate shoulder ultrasound (US) over magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in diagnosing Veteran shoulder pain, given similar efficacies and only 5% MRI follow-up rate after shoulder US. Methods We used a theory-driven, convergent parallel mixed-methods approach to prospectively (1) determine medical providers' reasons for selecting MRI over US in diagnosing shoulder pain and identify barriers to ordering US, (2) co-design CDS, informed by provider interviews, to prompt appropriate US use, and (3) assess CDS impact on shoulder imaging use. CDS effectiveness in guiding appropriate shoulder imaging was evaluated through monthly monitoring of ordering data at our quaternary care Veterans Hospital. Key outcome measures were appropriate MRI/US use rates and transition to ordering US by both musculoskeletal specialist and generalist providers. We assessed differences in ordering using a generalized estimating equations logistic regression model. We compared continuous measures using mixed effects analysis of variance with log-transformed data. Results During December 2016 to March 2018, 569 (395 MRI, 174 US) shoulder advanced imaging examinations were ordered by 111 providers. CDS co-designed in collaboration with providers increased US from 17% (58/335) to 50% (116/234) of all orders (p < 0.001), with concomitant decrease in MRI. Ordering appropriateness more than doubled from 31% (105/335) to 67% (157/234) following CDS (p < 0.001). Interviews confirmed that generalist providers want help in appropriately ordering advanced imaging. Conclusion Partnering with medical providers to co-design CDS reduced barriers and prompted appropriate transition to US from MRI for shoulder pain diagnosis, promoting evidence-based practice. This approach can inform the development and implementation of other forms of CDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Clinical Informatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management


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