A study by Regenstrief Institute and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs investigators provides the first in-depth look at how health care providers react to medication alerts generated by electronic medical record systems.
Medication alerts provide the health care team with computer-generated information on a variety of drug-related issues. Among the most common medication alerts are warnings about patient allergies, drug interactions and duplicate prescriptions. The alerts, critical to patient safety, can be triggered by many factors including the prescription of a new medication or a change in a patient's laboratory test results.
But health care providers may experience alert fatigue and unintentionally overlook important alerts if the electronic medical record system generates too many medication alerts; if alerts do not apply to the patient (for example, warning about a drug the patient has already been taking without problems); or if the alert provides too much extra information. The goal is to develop alerts that aid healthcare providers more effectively and enhance patient safety.
"Prescribers' Interactions With Medication Alerts at the Point of Prescribing: A Multi-Method, In Situ Investigation of the Human-Computer Interaction" appears in the April 2012 issue of the International Journal of Medical Informatics.