Harvard launches decision-support tool

Harvard Medical School has launched Library of Evidence, a new clinical decision-support tool designed to help physicians avoid ordering unnecessary medical tests, such as imaging exams.

With an initial focus on medical imaging, Library of Evidence is a repository of clinical knowledge that is the product of scientific evidence, published research, and guidelines from professional organizations. The software is designed to make it easier to access high-quality medical evidence for clinical decision-making, according to Dr. Ramin Khorasani, vice chair of the department of radiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Library of Evidence can be embedded into clinical information systems that are already in use at medical practices and hospitals. When a physician orders a test, the software queries the Library of Evidence database and provides instant feedback on whether the test is the most appropriate for that clinical scenario.

Harvard noted that federal legislation will go into effect in 2018 that requires clinicians to consult with "appropriate use" criteria when ordering advanced imaging exams to receive reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid.

Harvard's long-term goal is to introduce Library of Evidence into other medical specialties that also require evidence-based support tools, such as laboratory testing.

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