Behavioral Economics Interventions in Clinical Decision Support Systems
29 August 2018 (online)
Background: Clinical decision support (CDS) systems can improve safety and facilitate evidence-based practice. However, clinical decisions are often affected by the cognitive biases and heuristics of clinicians, which is increasing the interest in behavioral and cognitive science approaches in the medical field.
Objectives: This review aimed to identify decision biases that lead clinicians to exhibit irrational behaviors or responses, and to show how behavioral economics can be applied to interventions in order to promote and reveal the contributions of CDS to improving health care quality.
Methods: We performed a systematic review of studies published in 2016 and 2017 and applied a snowball citationsearch method to identify topical publications related to studies forming part of the BEARI (Application of Behavioral Economics to Improve the Treatment of Acute Respiratory Infections) multisite, cluster-randomized controlled trial performed in the United States.
Results: We found that 10 behavioral economics concepts with nine cognitive biases were addressed and investigated for clinician decision-making, and that the following five concepts, which were actively explored, had an impact in CDS applications: social norms, framing effect, status-quo bias, heuristics, and overconfidence bias.
Conclusions: Our review revealed that the use of behavioral economics techniques is increasing in areas such as antibiotics prescribing and preventive care, and that additional tests of the concepts and heuristics described would be useful in other areas of CDS. An improved understanding of the benefits and limitations of behavioral economics techniques is also still needed. Future studies should focus on successful design strategies and how to combine them with CDS functions for motivating clinicians.