Sunday, June 26, 2011

EHRs & Medical Decision-Making

Today, EHRs are not designed to support clinical decision-making since physicians are faced with information overload, time pressures, multi-tasking, and the need to aggregate and synthesize information from disparate sources. Today’s systems serve as a medium for information storage and retrieval but are rarely aligned with mental processes that underlie clinical decisions.

In doing research on decision-making, it has been found that expert medical decision makers mentally organize information in task-specific ways for efficient effective and safe diagnostic or therapeutic decisions.

To help address the barriers to effectively deal with health information technology, the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Healthcare (NCCD) was funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT under the SHARP program.

NCCD a consortium of nine institutions led by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) is going to do research on “Patient-Centered Cognitive Support”. The program brings together a collaborative interdisciplinary team of researchers from a number of fields such as biomedical and health informatics, cognitive sciences, clinical sciences, industrial and systems engineering, and health services.

UTHSC-H researchers will examine human information processing, medical decision-making, medical artificial intelligence, and clinical comprehension. By analyzing the research, scientists will come up with decision models to serve as a basis for the design of “Cognitive Support Systems” along with a suite of tools that will be able to gather and organize clinical information in a problem specific manner.

To further develop the program, on May 26, 2011, UTHSC-H issued an RFP to find assistance on how to design, implement, and evaluate cognitive support to provide the EHR with the intelligence to organize task-specific information in a way that supports the cognitive processes of decision-making both in critical and primary care.

The winning contractor will work closely with these researchers in the School of Biomedical Informatics to help design, develop, implement and support a series of medical applications based on research generated by the “Cognitive Support Systems” project.

To view the RFP “Cognitive Support for Medical Decision-Making”, go to then go to the search box and search for RFP No. 744-1122. The bid submittal deadline is June 28, 2011. For more information, email Michael K. Ochoa, UTHSC-H Purchasing Contracts Administrator at