Developing and demonstrating the viability and availability of the multilevel implementation strategy for syncope optimal care through engagement (mission) syncope app: Evidence-based clinical decision support tool

Shiraz Amin, Vedant Gupta, Gaixin Du, Colleen McMullen, Matthew Sirrine, Mark V. Williams, Susan S. Smyth, Romil Chadha, Seth Stearley, Jing Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Syncope evaluation and management is associated with testing overuse and unnecessary hospitalizations. The 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Syncope Guideline aims to standardize clinical practice and reduce unnecessary services. The use of clinical decision support (CDS) tools offers the potential to successfully implement evidence-based clinical guidelines. However, CDS tools that provide an evidence-based differential diagnosis (DDx) of syncope at the point of care are currently lacking. Objective: With input from diverse health systems, we developed and demonstrated the viability of a mobile app, the Multilevel Implementation Strategy for Syncope optImal care thrOugh eNgagement (MISSION) Syncope, as a CDS tool for syncope diagnosis and prognosis. Methods: Development of the app had three main goals: (1) reliable generation of an accurate DDx, (2) incorporation of an evidence-based clinical risk tool for prognosis, and (3) user-based design and technical development. To generate a DDx that incorporated assessment recommendations, we reviewed guidelines and the literature to determine clinical assessment questions (variables) and likelihood ratios (LHRs) for each variable in predicting etiology. The creation and validation of the app diagnosis occurred through an iterative clinician review and application to actual clinical cases. The review of available risk score calculators focused on identifying an easily applied and valid evidence-based clinical risk stratification tool. The review and decision-making factors included characteristics of the original study, clinical variables, and validation studies. App design and development relied on user-centered design principles. We used observations of the emergency department workflow, storyboard demonstration, multiple mock review sessions, and beta-testing to optimize functionality and usability. Results: The MISSION Syncope app is consistent with guideline recommendations on evidence-based practice (EBP), and its user interface (UI) reflects steps in a real-world patient evaluation: Assessment, DDx, risk stratification, and recommendations. The app provides flexible clinical decision making, while emphasizing a care continuum; it generates recommendations for diagnosis and prognosis based on user input. The DDx in the app is deemed a pragmatic model that more closely aligns with real-world clinical practice and was validated using actual clinical cases. The beta-testing of the app demonstrated well-accepted functionality and usability of this syncope CDS tool. Conclusions: The MISSION Syncope app development integrated the current literature and clinical expertise to provide an evidence-based DDx, a prognosis using a validated scoring system, and recommendations based on clinical guidelines. This app demonstrates the importance of using research literature in the development of a CDS tool and applying clinical experience to fill the gaps in available research. It is essential for a successful app to be deliberate in pursuing a practical clinical model instead of striving for a perfect mathematical model, given available published evidence. This hybrid methodology can be applied to similar CDS tool development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25192
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cardiology
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Medicine
  • Mobile applications
  • Prognostics and health
  • Syncope


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