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Desktop Decision Support Toolkit

The Clinician's Desktop Decision Support Toolkit processes patient outcome data and offers the clinician a suite of decision support tools designed to help the clinician view patient data and use the information to inform clinical decisions. It is a Microsoft Office Excel based application.

This prototype version is undergoing continuous refinement based on feedback from beta users. Feel free to play with the toolkit and send your comments and suggestions to

Download: Desktop Decision Support Toolkit


  • Powerful tools for viewing and graphing patient data
  • Summary statistics, including information on Outcomes Benchmarking
  • Ready access to information on use and interpretation of outcome questionnaires, with links to emerging research findings on outcomes informed care.
  • Flexible design readily customized based on organizational requirements and user feedback.

How does it work?

The Desktop Decision Support Toolkit is designed to be used in conjunction with a clinical information system maintained at a centralized data center. The clinical information system performs the following functions:

  • Aggregates raw data captured via paper forms, online data entry, or other methods of data capture.
  • Scores questionnaires and organizes data into patient records containing data for single episode of care with repeated assessments.
  • Calculates expected and actual change, Benchmark Scores, and other clinical indicators.
  • Outputs patient level episode of care data to Desktop Decision Support Toolkit for use by the clinician, program administrator, or other authorized individual.

Once the clinical information system has populated the Toolkit's data table, Toolkit utilizes a suite of utilities written in Visual Basic Script that permit the user to view patient data, graph results, and access decision support information.

How is the Toolkit distributed?

  • The outcomes management system populates the data tables within the Toolkit and saves under the end users ID number.
  • Clinicians and other end users may receive the files via encrypted email or by accessing a secure ACORN page.
  • End user receives data only for those patients for which he or she has authorization to view.

How frequently is the Toolkit distributed?

The frequency of distribution varies with the purposes for which the data is used. For example, the Toolkit may be used to give clinicians access to data for active cases. In this case, the Toolkit contains data only for patients currently in treatment, and is refreshed every 24 hours so that the clinicians can use the Decision Support Tools to inform ongoing treatment.

If the Toolkit is being used to evaluate outcomes for closed cases, the files need not be updated as frequently, but will contain a much larger sample of patients, depending on the time period in question.


The current version of the toolkit is a culmination of more than a decade's experience in designing outcomes management systems. The utilities within the Decision Support Toolkit have evolved over time in response to feedback from clinicians, clinical supervisors, and other consumers of the data contained within the outcomes reports. Variations on elements of this tool kit have been incorporated into a number of outcomes management systems for which I served as a consultant, including PacifiCare Behavioral Health's ALERT System, Resources for Living's Signal System, Institute for the Study of Therapeutic Change's ASSIST system, and Accountable Behavioral Healthcare Alliance's Oregon Change Index Outcomes Management System.

The Toolkit will continue to evolve based on feedback from clinicians. You can make your contribution by sending comments, suggestions, or bug reports to

-- JebBrown - 07 Mar 2007


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