Isabel Healthcare has announced a release of its new clinical decision support software designed to help reduce misdiagnosis in all major sectors of healthcare.

“For us this is a very big issue. When people look at patient safety, they tend to talk about medication errors. Misdiagnosis is much higher," Jason Maude, CEO of Isabel Healthcare, told E-Health Insider.

The software, developed originally for use in paediatric diagnosis, is also designed to cut long delays in diagnosis and patients seeing several clinicians before their condition is identified.

The Isabel system was developed in 1999 by Maude and Dr Joseph Britto, then Paediatric Intensive Care Consultant at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. It allows clinicians to view a list of diagnoses given a set of symptoms. It claims to be different from other support tools in that it works for every stage of the care pathway.

As well as covering all clinical areas, new features in the software include tools that show a list of related diagnoses to the chosen one and also suggest links to adverse drug reactions.

Dr Britto said at the launch: “The benefits that paediatric clinicians have derived from using Isabel have been transferred to a much wider clinical audience."

“In the UK, paediatrics account for about eight per cent cent of hospital beds. When you consider this, it becomes easy to visualise the importance that a groundbreaking adult version could have on the UK and global healthcare markets," said Maude.

The superseded paediatric version of Isabel is running in a number of hospitals across the UK including Kingston Hospital NHS Trust and Sandwell Hospital NHS Trust. “It’s up and running today delivering care," said Maude.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is planning to review clinical decision support software systems such as Isabel, at the request of the National Programme for IT. Andrew Dillon, chief executive of NICE, said that support software that recommends medication and contraindications should be investigated for safety and effectiveness.

Maude says that he understands initial opposition to a system from clinicians concerned that such technology is inferior to doctors making a decision about symptoms. However, he argues that decision support software is a tool, rather than a replacement. “It enables them to be better doctors, because we are not stopping then thinking."

Isabel was named after Maude’s daughter, who survived an attack of toxic shock syndrome and necrotising fasciitis at the age of three after her GP and emergency department misdiagnosed her condition as chicken pox.