Supportive Decision Making at the Point of Care: Refinement of a Case-Based Reasoning Application for Use in Nursing Practice


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Abstract

Variations in nursing care have been observed, affecting patient outcomes and quality of care. Case-based reasoners that benchmark for patient indicators can reduce variation through decision support. This study evaluated and validated a case-based reasoning application to establish benchmarks for nursing-sensitive patient outcomes of pain, fatigue, and toilet use, using patient characteristic variables for generating similar cases. Three graduate nursing students participated. Each ranked 25 patient cases using demographics of age, sex, diagnosis, and comorbidities against 10 patients from a database. Participant judgments of case similarity were compared with the case-based reasoning system. Feature weights for each indicator were adjusted to make the case-based reasoning system's similarity ranking correspond more closely to participant judgment. Small differences were noted between initial weights and weights generated from participants. For example, initial weight for comorbidities was 0.35, whereas weights generated by participants for pain, fatigue, and toilet use were 0.49, 0.42, and 0.48, respectively. For the same outcomes, the initial weight for sex was 0.15, but weights generated by the participants were 0.025, 0.002, and 0.000, respectively. Refinement of the case-based reasoning tool established valid benchmarks for patient outcomes in relation to participants and assisted in point-of-care decision making.

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