A decision-support system for the analysis of clinical practice patterns.

E. A. Balas, Z. R. Li, J. A. Mitchell, D. C. Spencer, E. Brent, B. G. Ewigman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several studies documented substantial variation in medical practice patterns, but physicians often do not have adequate information on the cumulative clinical and financial effects of their decisions. The purpose of developing an expert system for the analysis of clinical practice patterns was to assist providers in analyzing and improving the process and outcome of patient care. The developed QFES (Quality Feedback Expert System) helps users in the definition and evaluation of measurable quality improvement objectives. Based on objectives and actual clinical data, several measures can be calculated (utilization of procedures, annualized cost effect of using a particular procedure, and expected utilization based on peer-comparison and case-mix adjustment). The quality management rules help to detect important discrepancies among members of the selected provider group and compare performance with objectives. The system incorporates a variety of data and knowledge bases: (i) clinical data on actual practice patterns, (ii) frames of quality parameters derived from clinical practice guidelines, and (iii) rules of quality management for data analysis. An analysis of practice patterns of 12 family physicians in the management of urinary tract infections illustrates the use of the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-370
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings / the ... Annual Symposium on Computer Application [sic] in Medical Care. Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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