Decision support tools in adult long-term care facilities : a scoping review

Lapp, Linda and Egan, Kieren and McCann, Lisa and MacKenzie, Moira and Wales, Ann and Maguire, Roma (2022) Decision support tools in adult long-term care facilities : a scoping review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24 (9). e39681. ISSN 1438-8871 (

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BACKGROUND: Digital innovations are yet to make real impacts in the care home sector despite the considerable potential of digital health approaches to help with continued staff shortages and to improve quality of care. To understand the current landscape of digital innovation in long-term care facilities such as nursing and care homes, it is important to find out which clinical decision support tools are currently used in long-term care facilities, what their purpose is, how they were developed, and what types of data they use. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this review was to analyze studies that evaluated clinical decision support tools in long-term care facilities based on the purpose and intended users of the tools, the evidence base used to develop the tools, how the tools are used and their effectiveness, and the types of data the tools use to contribute to the existing scientific evidence to inform a roadmap for digital innovation, specifically for clinical decision support tools, in long-term care facilities. METHODS: A review of the literature published between January 1, 2010, and July 21, 2021, was conducted, using key search terms in 3 scientific journal databases: PubMed, Cochrane Library, and the British Nursing Index. Only studies evaluating clinical decision support tools in long-term care facilities were included in the review. RESULTS: In total, 17 papers were included in the final review. The clinical decision support tools described in these papers were evaluated for medication management, pressure ulcer prevention, dementia management, falls prevention, hospitalization, malnutrition prevention, urinary tract infection, and COVID-19 infection. In general, the included studies show that decision support tools can show improvements in delivery of care and in health outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Although the studies demonstrate the potential of positive impact of clinical decision support tools, there is variability in results, in part because of the diversity of types of decision support tools, users, and contexts as well as limited validation of the tools in use and in part because of the lack of clarity in defining the whole intervention.