Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > Study: Poorly Written Medication Warnings Missed by Busy Doctors

Study: Poorly Written Medication Warnings Missed by Busy Doctors

Posted 30 March 2012 | By

A new study conducted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute has found medication alerts are overly-detailed, poorly targeted and often skipped over by busy doctors, reports Fierce Health IT.

The study, published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics, followed 30 doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists. That group received 320 medication alerts-which are used to alert medical professionals to new safety warnings--during the study while treating 146 patients.

The study authors "found that prescribers were sometimes unsure why an alert was appearing, and they also determined that alert designs were more pharmacist-oriented than physician- or nurse practitioner-oriented, in spite of the fact that doctors and nurse practitioners were the principal prescribers."

The result: as many as 96% of alerts go ignored, according to a similar study cited by the study, in what is referred to as "alert fatigue."

"Prescribers' ability to act on alerts was impeded by the alert interface, which did not adequately support all prescriber types," wrote the researchers.

"Unless we improve medication alerts so they contain information that users need to make decisions, the problem of alert fatigue will grow as EMR systems expand beyond single hospitals and share more data," concluded study co-author Alissa Russ.

Read more:

Fierce Health IT - Overabundance of medication alerts too detailed to help busy docs

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