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Infectious disease outbreaks: how online clinical decision support could help
  1. Kieran Walsh
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kieran Walsh, BMJ Publishing Group, London WC1H 9JR, UK; kmwalsh{at}


This paper describes an evaluation of how doctors might use an online clinical decision support tool to improve the care that they would provide to patients with infectious disease and what features they would expect in such a clinical decision support tool. Semistructured interviews were conducted by telephone with doctors to evaluate the utility of a clinical decision support tool in helping them to improve the care that they would provide to patients with infectious disease and to assess the features that they would value in such a tool. The doctors were primarily interested in how they could use the tool to improve care. They were short of time and so needed to be able to access the content that they needed really quickly. They expected content that was both evidence based and current, and they used a range of devices to access the content. They used desktops, laptops, mobiles and sometimes mobile apps. Doctors view the utility of clinical decision support in the management of rare infectious diseases from a number of perspectives. However, they primarily see utility in the tools as a result of their capacity to improve clinical practice in infectious diseases.

  • infectious disease
  • clinical decision support
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  • Contributors KW conceived and carried out this work; wrote up the manuscript and approves this final version. He is accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests KW works for BMJ, which produces BMJ Best Practice. This provides clinical decision support in a range of infectious and non-infectious diseases.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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