Computer-Based Clinical Guidelines Can Help Physicians Manage Chronic Conditions

During 1994 and 1995, staff at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., assessed the feasibility of enhancing clinical decision-making using integrated management information systems and clinical guidelines.

The medical center worked collaboratively with PacifiCare of California, a managed care organization, and Managed Care Innovations, a local Independent Practice Association, to develop the information systems and create linkages among themselves.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Chronic Care Initiatives in HMOs national program.

Key Findings

  • Physicians were more willing to use practice guidelines when they helped to create them, if proper incentives and supports are in place.

  • Clinical guidelines can help with pre-certification and disease management.

  • Despite success in establishing a dialogue with physicians, linkages between the HMO and the hospital were not established.