Prictor, M; Taylor, M; Kaye, J; Emery, J; Nelson, C; Manski-Nankervis, J
(Thomson Reuters, 2020)
Clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) provide a valuable tool for clinicians to aid in the care of patients with chronic disease. Various questions have emerged about their implications for the doctor’s legal duty of care to their patients, in terms of recognition of risk, recall, testing and treatment. In this article, through an analysis of Australian legislation and international case law, we address these questions, considering the potential impact of CDSSs on doctors’ liability in negligence. We conclude that the appropriate use of a well-designed CDSS should minimise, rather than heighten, doctor’s potential liability. It should support optimal patient care without diminishing the capacity of the doctor to make individualised decisions about recall, testing and treatment for each patient. We foreshadow that in the future doctors in Australia may have a duty to use available well-established software systems in patient care.