To identify ML tools in hospital settings and how they were implemented to inform decision-making for patient care through a scoping review. We investigated the following research questions: What ML interventions have been used to inform decision-making for patient care in hospital settings? What strategies have been used to implement these ML interventions?


A scoping review was undertaken. MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) were searched from 2009 until June 2021. Two reviewers screened titles and abstracts, full-text articles, and charted data independently. Conflicts were resolved by another reviewer. Data were summarised descriptively using simple content analysis.


Hospital setting.


Any type of clinician caring for any type of patient.


Machine learning tools used by clinicians to inform decision-making for patient care, such as AI-based computerised decision support systems or “‘model-based'” decision support systems.

Primary and secondary outcome measures:

Patient and study characteristics, as well as intervention characteristics including the type of machine learning tool, implementation strategies, target population. Equity issues were examined with PROGRESS-PLUS criteria.


After screening 17 386 citations and 3474 full-text articles, 20 unique studies and 1 companion report were included. The included articles totalled 82 656 patients and 915 clinicians. Seven studies reported gender and four studies reported PROGRESS-PLUS criteria (race, health insurance, rural/urban). Common implementation strategies for the tools were clinician reminders that integrated ML predictions (44.4%), facilitated relay of clinical information (17.8%) and staff education (15.6%). Common barriers to successful implementation of ML tools were time (11.1%) and reliability (11.1%), and common facilitators were time/efficiency (13.6%) and perceived usefulness (13.6%).


We found limited evidence related to the implementation of ML tools to assist clinicians with patient healthcare decisions in hospital settings. Future research should examine other approaches to integrating ML into hospital clinician decisions related to patient care, and report on PROGRESS-PLUS items.


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Foundation grant awarded to SES and the CIHR Strategy for Patient Oriented-Research Initiative (GSR-154442). SCOPING REVIEW REGISTRATION: https://osf.io/e2mna.




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Implemented machine learning tools to inform decision-making for patient care in hospital settings: a scoping review

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