A clinical decision support system (CDSS) is a computerized application that helps clinicians detect and prevent untoward clinical events such as drug interactions, errors of omission, and trends in symptomatology. A CDSS in healthcare usually is built around an alerting system based on rules of logic. The alerting system of a CDSS can notify clinicians immediately on clinical data entry, or it can generate alerts over time after relating data from multiple sources. A CDSS for nurses and patients offers immediate benefits for nurses and patients by detecting potential drug-laboratory and drug-drug combinations and impending pharmacologic complications, monitoring microbiology results, and helping nurses relate symptoms to pharmacology and medication side effects. Other benefits include savings in time and money and reductions in morbidity and mortality. A CDSS presents an opportunity for nursing informatics and critical care nursing to collaborate for the benefit of the patient and the profession.

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