Custom EHR alert improves disease treatment orders, outcomes

Clinical decision support alerts can be overwhelming--they're often blamed for so-called alert fatigue, leading docs to click through warnings without really seeing them. But they also can improve patient care according to a survey presented by Johns Hopkins University Hospital Dec. 11 at the American Society of Hematology's annual meeting in San Diego.

According to the study, preventive treatment for venous thromboembolism (VTE) reduces the risk of VTE by 60 percent. However, more than one-third of the hospital's patients were not getting VTE prophylaxis, so the hospital developed a mandatory alert and added it to its electronic health records system.

As a result, the frequency of orders for preventive treatment for VTE increased "significantly" after implementation of the alert, Johns Hopkins reported. Risk appropriate prescribing rates rose from 68 percent to 86 percent. The intervention also cut VTE rates from 2.5 percent within 90 days of admission to 0.7 percent. Only 14 percent of patients had no orders for any kind of preventive treatment.

Before implementing the mandatory clinical alert, the hospital failed to meet established guidelines for providing preventive treatment for VTE, MedPage Today reports. In other words, adding the clinical decision support not only improved patient care, but it also improved the hospital's overall standard of care, which can stave off potential malpractice and other legal issues.

To learn more:
- here's the hospital's abstract
- check out this MedPage Today article