In this special issue of eGEMs, we explore the struggles related to bringing evidence into day-to-day practice, what I define as the “evidence gap.” We are all aware of high-quality evidence in the form of guidelines, randomized clinical trials for treatments and diagnostic tests, and clinical prediction rules, which are all readily available online. We also know that electronic health records (EHRs) are now ubiquitous in health care and in most practices across the country. How we marry this high-quality evidence and the practice of medicine through effective decision support is a major challenge.
About the issue
All of the articles in this issue explore, in some fashion, CDS systems and how we can best bring providers and their work environment to the evidence. We are at the very early stages of the science of usability. Much more research and funding is needed in this area if we hope to improve the dissemination and implementation of evidence in practice. While the featured examples, techniques, and tools in the special issue are a promising start to improving usability and CDS, many of the papers highlight current gaps in knowledge and a great need for generalizable approaches. The great promise is for “learning” approaches to generate new evidence and to integrate this evidence in reliable, patient-centered ways at scale using new technology. Closing the evidence gap is a real possibility, but only if the community works together to innovate and invest in research on the best ways to disseminate, communicate, and implement evidence in practice.