RDS tool types & permissions

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Type of tool

Description

Who can build?

Informational app builder
Use to provide access to guidelines, handbooks, patient information and educational information, organised and presented  in decision-ready format. Can be published as websites and/or downloadable mobile apps.

Following training and confirmation of organisational support, the RDS team will provide staff in health and social care organisations with passwords to the RDS builder toolset to build these apps.

Within Boards that are already using the RDS builder tools, your local coordinator may be able to help. Otherwise contact decisionsupport@dhi-scotland.com

Pathway builder
Use to build visual pathways for health and social care in a consistent, logical format. Nodes in pathways can be linked to relevant information - e.g. guidelines, evidence sources, patient information.  These pathways can be embedded at appropriate points in RDS web and mobile apps.

Following training and confirmation of organisational support, the RDS team will provide staff in health and social care organisations to build these pathways.

Within Boards that are already using the RDS builder tools, your local coordinator may be able to help. Otherwise contact decisionsupport@dhi-scotland.com

Form builder (piloting from Jan 2022)

Use to create interactive forms and embed in your RDS apps. You can then retrieve and analyse the data submitted via these forms.

Following training and confirmation of organisational support, the RDS team will provide staff in health and social care organisations to build these forms. Will require information governance approval from your organisation. The RDS team will provide a generic DPIA for this purpose.

Contact decisionsupport@dhi-scotland.com.

Q and A decision tree builder (piloting from Jan 2022)
Use to create decision trees that guide users down appropriate decision-making routes dependent on their answers at each point.

You will need to consult with the RDS team before using this tool, as this type of solution will often be categorised as a medical device and will require UK CA marking. 

The RDS team will provide templates and guidance to support the UK CA marking process and will organise UK CA marking via their partnership with Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) as legal manufacturer for RDS software categorised as a medical device.

Contact decisionsupport@dhi-scotland.com.

Calculators

Interactive tools which calculate, for example, risk scores or drug dosages, and make recommendations for action.

See Calculator suite for examples

Requires expertise and UK CA marking from RDS team.

Contact decisionsupport@dhi-scotland.com.

Algorithms that deliver alerts and prompts in patient's electronic health record.

Examples include: Alerts that highlight:

  • High risk medicine combinations
  • Patient at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
  • Co-morbidities that require treatment modification - e.g. cardiovascular disease or chronic kidney disease in diabetic patients.

Requires expertise and UK CA marking from RDS team.

Contact decisionsupport@dhi-scotland.com.

     

Spectrum of decision support tools

The diagram below illustrates  the spectrum of types of decision support tools supported by the RDS team:

Informational decision support tools 

These tools package evidence-based information into decision-ready formats for use at point of care. Examples include RDS guideline and pathway apps.  

Knowledge-driven expert systems 

These tools use clinically validated algorithms, based on robust, critically appraised research evidence, to process data about an individual and issue recommendations for action.  This is one of the oldest, best established forms of artificial intelligence in healthcare, dating back to the 1970s, and the methods for obtaining UK CA marking for this form of decision support are well defined.  There is a substantial evidence base indicating that this type of decision support, when effectively implemented, can have a significant impact on practice and patient outcomes.

Knowledge-driven expert systems can operate on a standalone basis - e.g. as mobile or web apps where data about the individual is entered manually. Examples of standalone RDS solutions  include the calculator suite and the Q and A decision tree tool. 

The RDS platform can also interface with  electronic health record systems so that these algorithms can interact with data in an individual patient record and issue recommendations for action in the context of that record.  Currently this integration is being piloted with primary care systems and the best approach to integration with secondary care systems is  being investigated.

Data-driven AI solutions

 This type of decision support typically involves machine learning or natural language processing. It uses algorithms  generated by applying mathematical techniques to large datasets.  These computational methods  “learn” information directly from data without relying on a predetermined equation. The relationship between algorithms and the underlying data  is not transparent and therefore these algorithms are harder to validate for clinical use and UK CA marking purposes. 

This type of decision support is still new in healthcare and the evidence base for impact is still emergent. The methods for UK CA marking are also still in the process of being fully defined.

The Right Decision Service team engages in a number of data-driven AI projects but does not currently offer bespoke tools for creating this type of decision support solution.