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Open Access Research article

Development of a prototype clinical decision support tool for osteoporosis disease management: a qualitative study of focus groups

Monika Kastner1*, Jamy Li2, Danielle Lottridge2, Christine Marquez3, David Newton3 and Sharon E Straus13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Health Sciences Building, 155 College Street, Suite 425, Toronto, ON, M5T 3M6, Canada

2 Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, 5 King's College Road, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G8, Canada

3 Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's hospital, University of Toronto, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8, Canada

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2010, 10:40  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-40

Published: 22 July 2010

Abstract

Background

Osteoporosis affects over 200 million people worldwide, and represents a significant cost burden. Although guidelines are available for best practice in osteoporosis, evidence indicates that patients are not receiving appropriate diagnostic testing or treatment according to guidelines. The use of clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) may be one solution because they can facilitate knowledge translation by providing high-quality evidence at the point of care. Findings from a systematic review of osteoporosis interventions and consultation with clinical and human factors engineering experts were used to develop a conceptual model of an osteoporosis tool. We conducted a qualitative study of focus groups to better understand physicians' perceptions of CDSSs and to transform the conceptual osteoporosis tool into a functional prototype that can support clinical decision making in osteoporosis disease management at the point of care.

Methods

The conceptual design of the osteoporosis tool was tested in 4 progressive focus groups with family physicians and general internists. An iterative strategy was used to qualitatively explore the experiences of physicians with CDSSs; and to find out what features, functions, and evidence should be included in a working prototype. Focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide using an iterative process where results of the first focus group informed changes to the questions for subsequent focus groups and to the conceptual tool design. Transcripts were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using grounded theory methodology.

Results

Of the 3 broad categories of themes that were identified, major barriers related to the accuracy and feasibility of extracting bone mineral density test results and medications from the risk assessment questionnaire; using an electronic input device such as a Tablet PC in the waiting room; and the importance of including well-balanced information in the patient education component of the osteoporosis tool. Suggestions for modifying the tool included the addition of a percentile graph showing patients' 10-year risk for osteoporosis or fractures, and ensuring that the tool takes no more than 5 minutes to complete.

Conclusions

Focus group data revealed the facilitators and barriers to using the osteoporosis tool at the point of care so that it can be optimized to aid physicians in their clinical decision making.