Appl Clin Inform 2024; 15(01): 064-074
DOI: 10.1055/a-2216-5775
Research Article

Using Clinical Decision Support Systems to Decrease Intravenous Acetaminophen Use: Implementation and Lessons Learned

Gabriel Tse
1   Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States
Claudia Algaze
2   Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States
Natalie Pageler
3   Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States
Matthew Wood
4   Center for Pediatric and Maternal Value, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, California, United States
Whitney Chadwick
1   Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, United States
› Author Affiliations


Background Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) can enhance medical decision-making by providing targeted information to providers. While they have the potential to improve quality of care and reduce costs, they are not universally effective and can lead to unintended harm.

Objectives To describe the implementation of an unsuccessful interruptive CDSS that aimed to promote appropriate use of intravenous (IV) acetaminophen at an academic pediatric hospital, with an emphasis on lessons learned.

Methods Quality improvement methodology was used to study the effect of an interruptive CDSS, which set a mandatory expiry time of 24 hours for all IV acetaminophen orders. This CDSS was implemented on April 5, 2021. The primary outcome measure was number of IV acetaminophen administrations per 1,000 patient days, measured pre- and postimplementation. Process measures were the number of IV acetaminophen orders placed per 1,000 patient days. Balancing measures were collected via survey data and included provider and nursing acceptability and unintended consequences of the CDSS.

Results There was no special cause variation in hospital-wide IV acetaminophen administrations and orders after CDSS implementation, nor when the CDSS was removed. A total of 88 participants completed the survey. Nearly half (40/88) of respondents reported negative issues with the CDSS, with the majority stating that this affected patient care (39/40). Respondents cited delays in patient care and reduced efficiency as the most common negative effects.

Conclusion This study underscores the significance of monitoring CDSS implementations and including end user acceptability as an outcome measure. Teams should be prepared to modify or remove CDSS that do not achieve their intended goal or are associated with low end user acceptability. CDSS holds promise for improving clinical practice, but careful implementation and ongoing evaluation are crucial for maximizing their benefits and minimizing potential harm.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

The study was performed in compliance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects and was reviewed by Stanford University's Institutional Review Board.

Publication History

Received: 20 July 2023

Accepted: 22 November 2023

Accepted Manuscript online:
23 November 2023

Article published online:
24 January 2024

© 2024. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Rüdigerstraße 14, 70469 Stuttgart, Germany

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