How to Avoid EHR Alert Fatigue
Answer the following questions honestly. Do you get EHR alerts while charting and:
- Not pay attention?
- Ignore even those marked “Important?”
- Delete more alerts than you read?
- Think: “I would rather talk to the IRS than see another alert.”?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you have EHR ALERT FATIGUE.
A recent study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine revealed that 99% of opioid alerts failed to prevent an adverse drug reaction and highlighted the necessity to eliminate meaningless alerts.
This is what to look for in your next EHR system:
EHR system alerts can be enabled, disabled, or customized based on preference. Investing just a few moments now can save you time and irritation, improve patient care and experience, and highlight important, actionable events like drug interactions and decision support. Check out our tips for:
- Improving Patient Throughput: Set up an alert for patients who have been in the department for a “long” time (as defined by your clinic) to serve as a warning for patients who may be growing dissatisfied with the speed of care. You should also be able to define individual alerts for orders and status.
- Ensuring Continuity of Care: Use the online referral function to create an alert for a patient when he or she arrives. Flag whether the patient is affiliated with PCP groups or ACOs.
- Knowing Your Clinical Alerts: Check out the precaution flags on the dashboard — the chief complaint should be color-coded by acuity so you notice when a high-acuity patient arrives.
- Optimizing Order Entry and Prescription Writing: Performs drug-drug interaction checking!
- Defining a Clinical Pathway: Once you define your site criteria (i.e. chief complaint, vital signs, lab orders), the EHR should trigger a clinical pathway that provides guidance on the preferred standard of care for patients meeting those criteria.
- Turning off Immunization Reminders: You can check “already taken care of ” or “declined by patient” so these reminders will stop popping up.
The bottom line: make the system work for you now and we promise your EHR ALERT FATIGUE will fade fast.