Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Clinical Decision Support Learning Network (North Carolina)

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Patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) can give patients and providers the power to make more informed health decisions. However, increasing investment in PCOR research has revealed a gap between the PCOR findings that are generated and how those findings are effectively incorporated into clinical care. This gap in translating PCOR findings into practice can impede the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based information to patients. Clinical decision support (CDS) plays a critical role in making key PCOR findings accessible and actionable. CDS is a process for enhancing health-related decisions and actions by patients, providers, and others to improve health and care delivery. CDS interventions draw from a rich palette of options that ideally make the right thing to do easy. Examples include highlighting care needs (such as for disease screening and management) in individuals and populations through dashboards and registry reports, as well as addressing those needs through evidence-based order sets and judicious use of notifications tied to appropriate action.

Numerous barriers to the effective use of CDS still exist and must be overcome for PCOR findings to be incorporated into CDS at scale. Barriers include limited awareness and availability of PCOR findings; limited expertise with interpreting and embedding those findings into CDS; the lack of widely adopted standards for CDS; the still limited use of portals and personal health records by patients; the lack of a forum to promote stakeholder engagement for assessing barriers and facilitators to implementing PCOR findings in CDS; the lack of collaboration sites with appropriate tools; and the lack of a model for creating and managing authoritative best practice knowledge repositories.

In response to these barriers, investigators at Research Triangle Institute are developing a PCOR Clinical Decision Support Learning Network (PCOR CDS-LN). This network will bring together multiple public and private stakeholders to collectively pursue the following aims:

  • Accelerate collaborative learning opportunities by convening, implementing, and initiating operation of a multistakeholder CDS learning network 
  • Identify barriers and facilitators to the incorporation of PCOR findings in CDS, and develop recommendations for implementing PCOR findings in clinical workflows via CDS 
  • Monitor and measure the dissemination and use of PCOR findings in vendor-based and open source CDS tools, evaluate the effectiveness of the PCOR CDS-LN, and adapt its activities to increase effectiveness based on these findings
  • Develop a sustainability plan for ongoing operations of the PCOR CDS-LN

To learn more about the PCOR CDS-LN and its ongoing activities, please visit

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