Excessive EHR alerts counterproductive: study (US)

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The Veterans Administration is perhaps the largest institutional user of EHRs. However, the alerts that are supposed to improve healthcare may not be all that accurate. A study published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making (12 April), taken from six focus groups on EHRs at two VA facilities, reported the following: unnecessary alerts not related to test results were generated from EHRs, staff did not feel proficient in managing alerts efficiently and wanted improvements in display and tracking of results. However the Information Week article went beyond the abstract in a major gap cited in the study: ‘on over 2,500 alerts of abnormal test results, providers did not read 18% of alerts pertaining to abnormal imaging results or 10% relating to abnormal laboratory tests. Furthermore, approximately 8% of abnormal imaging and 7% of abnormal laboratory results lacked timely follow-up at 30 days.’ IW also points out the disappointing results of an earlier Stanford University study. Healthcare providers frustrated by excessive EHR alerts