Clinical decision support systems to improve drug prescription and therapy optimisation in clinical practice: a scoping review

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Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) can reduce medical errors increasing drug prescription appropriateness. Deepening knowledge of existing CDSSs could increase their use by healthcare professionals in different settings (ie, hospitals, pharmacies, health research centres) of clinical practice. This review aims to identify the characteristics common to effective studies conducted with CDSSs.

Materials and methods

The article sources were Scopus, PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE and Web of Science, queried between January 2017 and January 2022. Inclusion criteria were prospective and retrospective studies that reported original research on CDSSs for clinical practice support; studies should describe a measurable comparison of the intervention or observation conducted with and without the CDSS; article language Italian or English. Reviews and studies with CDSSs used exclusively by patients were excluded. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet was prepared to extract and summarise data from the included articles.


The search resulted in the identification of 2424 articles. After title and abstract screening, 136 studies remained, 42 of which were included for final evaluation. Most of the studies included rule-based CDSSs that are integrated into existing databases with the main purpose of managing disease-related problems. The majority of the selected studies (25 studies; 59.5%) were successful in supporting clinical practice, with most being pre–post intervention studies and involving the presence of a pharmacist.

Discussion and conclusion

A number of characteristics have been identified that may help the design of studies feasible to demonstrate the effectiveness of CDSSs. Further studies are needed to encourage CDSS use.

Armando, L. G., Miglio, G., de Cosmo, P., Cena, C.

Armando, L. G., Miglio, G., de Cosmo, P., Cena, C.

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