Now we all must have heard about the phrase “alert fatigue,” this usually happens when there are too many alerts, mostly drug to drug that are generated on the system, so much so that the physicians either start ignoring them or they turn off the alert feature.
This poses a serious threat to the safety of the patients. This alert fatigue syndrome is more prevalent in medication alerts and the only resolution seems to be in finding the right balance between the wants and the needs of the clinician and the safety of the patient. Thus in order to streamline electronic prescribing clinical decision support, it is essential to devise ways to overcome alert fatigue, which results in care providers overriding medication alerts.
What Causes Alert Fatigue:
There are several causes to alert fatigues, which include:
As a result of which care providers either start ignoring them or completely turn of certain alert groups, which might also include certain relevant alerts.
Solutions to resolve alert fatigue:
The urgency to resolve this issue is shared by both care providers and vendors who would like to create a user friendly system which ensures patient safety but also takes into consideration the needs of the care providers. Therefore to bring across the positive aspects of medication alert it is important to come up with promising solutions, which will have a long lasting effect in the healthcare industry. The solutions are as follows:
Tiering alerts based on severity: In here certain vendors adopt a software tool which ranks the medication alert on the basis of severity, which allows the care providers to turn off certain categories or sub categories to reduce the frequency of medication alerts. However the success of these solutions depend entirely on information input with regards to drug to drug allergy interactions and this solution can completely misfire if the database does not have an exhaustive medicine literature.
Monitoring override rates: There are certain tools which when integrated into the EHR system can monitor the override rates of medical alerts. For instance the tool constantly computes the alerts that are being overridden by clinicians across the organization or clinics and then reclassifies the severity level of these alerts against the resultant data; however this tool is most useful when the system also has tiering alerts based on severity integrated in it.
Customizing Alerts: Several care providers prefer to have an EHR technology that allows them to customize medication alert because this gives them more control over the alert feature. This solution takes into account the speciality of the end users and lets them include and omit alerts considering their area of specialization.
Tranquilmoney’s practice tracker software takes into consideration the speciality of individual clients and lets them customize alerts, which enhances their efficiency and also ensures patient safety.
Improvement in alert mechanism will be an ongoing process which will improve with constant feedback between vendors and care providers. Alert fatigue if ignored will have serious implications and will contradict the very soul of health information technology which aims at improving the quality of healthcare.