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Abstract

Nurse clinicians need to make complex decisions on a continual basis, while delivering cost-effective treatments. The rapid proliferation of medical and nursing knowledge complicates the decision-making process, particularly for novice nurses. We describe a Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) for the novice nurse that combines evidence-based nursing knowledge with specific patient information to create a real-time guide through the nursing diagnostic care process. The goal of the paper is to describe how an appropriately designed and evidence-based CDSS can aid the nursing practice. An off-the-shelf handheld computer is utilized to deliver clinical knowledge to the nurse, via wireless link to a central server and a data repository. In describing the software architecture of the system, particular emphasis is paid to the issue of appropriate design by discussing the steps taken to address system extensibility, performance, reliability, and security, which are important factors in the design of a CDSS.

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