Background: Decision-making in lung cancer is complex due to a rapidly increasing amount of diagnostic data and treatment options. The need for timely and accurate diagnosis and delivery of care demands high-quality multidisciplinary team (MDT) collaboration and coordination. Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) can potentially support MDTs in constructing a shared mental model of a patient case. This enables the team to assess the strength and completeness of collected diagnostic data, stratification for the right personalized therapy driven by clinical stage and other treatment-influencing factors, and adapt care management strategies when needed. Current CDSSs often have a suboptimal fit into the decision-making workflow, which hampers their impact in clinical practice.
Methods: A CDSS for multidisciplinary decision-making in lung cancer was designed to support the abovementioned goals through presentation of relevant clinical data in line with existing mental model structures of the MDT members. The CDSS was tested in a simulated multidisciplinary tumor board meeting for primary diagnosis and treatment selection, based on de-identified primary lung cancer cases (n=8). Decision course analysis, eye-tracking data and questionnaires were used to assess the impact of the CDSS on constructing shared mental models to improve the decision-making process and outcome.
Results: The CDSS supported the team in their self-correcting capacity for accurate diagnosis and TNM classification. It enabled cross-validation of diagnostic findings, surfaced discordance between diagnostic tests and facilitated cancer staging according the diagnostic evidence, as well as spotting contra-indications for personalized treatment selection.
Conclusions: This study shows the potential of CDSS on clinical decision making, when these systems are properly designed in line with clinical thinking. The presented setup enables assessment of the impact of CDSS design on clinical decision making and optimization of CDSSs to maximize their effect on decision quality and confidence.
Keywords: Clinical decision support system (CDSS); eye-tracking technology; multidisciplinary lung cancer care; team decision-making; user interface design