During the diagnostic process a lot of information is generated. All this information is assessed when making a final diagnosis and planning the therapy. While some patient information is stable, e.g., gender, others may become outdated, e.g., tumor size derived from CT data. Quantifying this information up-to-dateness and deriving consequences are difficult. Especially for the implementation in clinical decision support systems, this has not been studied. When information entities tend to become outdated, in practice, clinicians intuitively reduce their impact when making decisions. Therefore, in a system's calculations their impact should be reduced as well. We propose a method of decreasing the certainty of information entities based on their up-to-dateness. The method is tested in a decision support system for TNM staging based on Bayesian networks. We compared the actual N-state in records of 39 patients to the N-state calculated with and without decreasing data certainty. The results under decreased certainty correlated better with the actual states (r=0.958, p=0.008). We conclude that the up-to-dateness must be considered when processing clinical information to enhance decision making and ensure more patient safety.
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