Equipping clinicians with reliable data for the best decision making

Dr. Nguyen Van Dinh shares how clinical decision support tools have become a reliable source of treatment recommendations and educational support at Vinmec International Hospital Times City

Technology has brought about a profound shift in healthcare delivery and patient behaviour. Healthcare organisations and clinicians must be able to predict and adapt to these changes and meet the evolving needs of their patients.

Vinmec Healthcare System, a healthcare group in Vietnam operating seven hospitals and four clinics, approaches patient management using what it refers to as the 4P model – Personalised, Participatory, Preventive, Predictive.

Patients today can easily access medical information on their smartphones and other personal devices, and this has led to more active participation and ownership in the treatment process. This is a positive trend, says Dr. Nguyen Van Dinh, Head of Respiratory, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Division and Internal Medicine Department at Vinmec International Hospital Times City.

“As individuals, many patients are quite knowledgeable. And they are encouraged to participate in decision making – that is the most effective means to achieve the best clinical outcomes as well as patients’ satisfaction.”

Clinicians need updated, reliable data

Access to knowledge is also vital for clinicians, who need to be equipped with the latest research and data available to arrive at the most appropriate clinical decisions, thus achieving optimal clinical effectiveness.

This is another example of where technology has helped greatly, notes Dr. Dinh. “Technology has had a tremendous impact on clinical effectiveness,” he says. “Before technology, to find certain information could take days if even possible. Now we can collectively find all the data about any disease with just a computer and the internet.”

He points to telehealth as one example of the impact of technology on clinical effectiveness. The growth of telehealth, especially during the pandemic, has enabled more collaboration and sharing of opinions between physicians. This allows for inputs from clinicians of different specialties and expertise, helping to achieve multidisciplinary, comprehensive care for each patient.

However, with the large amount of information produced daily, it is important to ensure the data consumed by the clinicians are highly reliable, relevant, and easily accessible.

Vinmec leverages clinical decision support tools to help provide clinicians with an easily accessible and reliable source of clinical information.

“There are many situations in which it is quite difficult to make a diagnosis and treatment recommendation, and having a second or third opinion is a great help. Consulting with others is one way to achieve good decision making,” Dr. Dinh explains. “So, equipping ourselves with reliable data resources like UpToDate® and Lexicomp® is useful for Vinmec healthcare professionals, especially for clinicians.”

UpToDate, the leading global clinical decision support reference solution, is constantly updated with the latest evidence-based clinical guidance, driven by more than 7,400 authors and editors who are themselves clinicians and experts in their own specialties. Lexicomp provides evidence-based drug treatment information catered to individual patient’s complex conditions and histories, like renal impairment and obesity, to help optimise patient safety. The two solutions are aligned to help coordinate care and reduce unwarranted variability and miscommunication between clinicians using the tools.

“Most of the residents really like UpToDate and they have been using it daily,” says Dr. Dinh. “When we have case presentations, we mainly prefer to refer to UpToDate for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. I believe that UpToDate has certainly raised the standard of practice in our hospital.”

Evidence at work in clinical practice and in teaching

He regularly refers to UpToDate in his own clinical practice as well.

“There are two situations in which I commonly refer to UpToDate,” he explains. “First, all immunosuppressive drugs have many common and uncommon side effects. If a patient shows up with an uncommon symptom after starting a drug, I will look at UpToDate to find out whether the symptom is a side effect or it needs further investigation. Second, in certain cases when a patient cannot tolerate first-line therapy, I will use UpToDate to see which medication is most supported by evidence-based data to use as an alternative.”

As a teaching hospital, these digital tools have also been a useful resource for Vinmec’s lecturers and medical students, so they are kept abreast of the latest research findings and developments in the field.

“For all the faculty members, the residents, and the students to access the most updated medical literature, Vinmec decided to use UpToDate as a source for references because it is well known as a reliable source and a point-of-care tool,” he says. “Our aim is to become an international accredited teaching hospital.”