Usage patterns of web-based stroke calculators in clinical decision support: retrospective analysis

Benjamin Kummer, Lubaina Shakir, Rachel Kwon, Joseph Habboushe, Nathalie Jetté

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical scores are frequently used in the diagnosis and management of stroke. While medical calculators are increasingly important support tools for clinical decisions, the uptake and use of common medical calculators for stroke remain poorly characterized. Objective: We aimed to describe use patterns in frequently used stroke-related medical calculators for clinical decisions from a web-based support system. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of calculators from MDCalc, a web-based and mobile app–based medical calculator platform based in the United States. We analyzed metadata tags from MDCalc’s calculator use data to identify all calculators related to stroke. Using relative page views as a measure of calculator use, we determined the 5 most frequently used stroke-related calculators between January 2016 and December 2018. For all 5 calculators, we determined cumulative and quarterly use, mode of access (eg, app or web browser), and both US and international distributions of use. We compared cumulative use in the 2016-2018 period with use from January 2011 to December 2015. Results: Over the study period, we identified 454 MDCalc calculators, of which 48 (10.6%) were related to stroke. Of these, the 5 most frequently used calculators were the CHA2DS2-VASc score for atrial fibrillation stroke risk calculator (5.5% of total and 32% of stroke-related page views), the Mean Arterial Pressure calculator (2.4% of total and 14.0% of stroke-related page views), the HAS-BLED score for major bleeding risk (1.9% of total and 11.4% of stroke-related page views), the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score calculator (1.7% of total and 10.1% of stroke-related page views), and the CHADS2 score for atrial fibrillation stroke risk calculator (1.4% of total and 8.1% of stroke-related page views). Web browser was the most common mode of access, accounting for 82.7%-91.2% of individual stroke calculator page views. Access originated most frequently from the most populated regions within the United States. Internationally, use originated mostly from English-language countries. The NIHSS score calculator demonstrated the greatest increase in page views (238.1% increase) between the first and last quarters of the study period. Conclusions: The most frequently used stroke calculators were the CHA2DS2-VASc, Mean Arterial Pressure, HAS-BLED, NIHSS, and CHADS2. These were mainly accessed by web browser, from English-speaking countries, and from highly populated areas. Further studies should investigate barriers to stroke calculator adoption and the effect of calculator use on the application of best practices in cerebrovascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28266
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Clinical health
  • Clinical informatics
  • Digital health
  • Economic health
  • Electronic health records
  • Health information
  • Health information technology
  • Information technology
  • Medical calculators
  • Medical informatics
  • Mhealth


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