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Clinical decision support systems, Documentation completeness, Documentation templates, Evidence-based practice, Stroke



  1. Richardson, Karen J. DNP, RN
  2. Sengstack, Patricia DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS
  3. Doucette, Jeffrey N. DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CENP
  4. Hammond, William E. PhD
  5. Schertz, Matthew MSIS, BSN, RN
  6. Thompson, Julie PhD
  7. Johnson, Constance PhD, MS, RN


The primary aim of this performance improvement project was to determine whether the electronic health record implementation of stroke-specific nursing documentation flowsheet templates and clinical decision support alerts improved the nursing documentation of eligible stroke patients in seven stroke-certified emergency departments. Two system enhancements were introduced into the electronic record in an effort to improve nursing documentation: disease-specific documentation flowsheets and clinical decision support alerts. Using a pre-post design, project measures included six stroke management goals as defined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and three clinical decision support measures based on entry of orders used to trigger documentation reminders for nursing: (1) the National Institutes of Health's Stroke Scale, (2) neurological checks, and (3) dysphagia screening. Data were reviewed 6 months prior (n = 2293) and 6 months following the intervention (n = 2588). Fisher exact test was used for statistical analysis. Statistical significance was found for documentation of five of the six stroke management goals, although effect sizes were small. Customizing flowsheets to meet the needs of nursing workflow showed improvement in the completion of documentation. The effects of the decision support alerts on the completeness of nursing documentation were not statistically significant (likely due to lack of order entry). For example, an order for the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale was entered only 10.7% of the time, which meant no alert would fire for nursing in the postintervention group. Future work should focus on decision support alerts that trigger reminders for clinicians to place relevant orders for this population.