Optimization of drug-drug interaction alert rules in a pediatric hospital's electronic health record system using a visual analytics dashboard.
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<p><strong>OBJECTIVE: </strong>To develop and evaluate an electronic dashboard of hospital-wide electronic health record medication alerts for an alert fatigue reduction quality improvement project.</p>
<p><strong>METHODS: </strong>We used visual analytics software to develop the dashboard. We collaborated with the hospital-wide Clinical Decision Support committee to perform three interventions successively deactivating clinically irrelevant drug-drug interaction (DDI) alert rules. We analyzed the impact of the interventions on care providers' and pharmacists' alert and override rates using an interrupted time series framework with piecewise regression.</p>
<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>We evaluated 2 391 880 medication alerts between January 31, 2011 and January 26, 2014. For pharmacists, the median alert rate prior to the first DDI deactivation was 58.74 alerts/100 orders (IQR 54.98-60.48) and 25.11 alerts/100 orders (IQR 23.45-26.57) following the three interventions (p<0.001). For providers, baseline median alert rate prior to the first round of DDI deactivation was 19.73 alerts/100 orders (IQR 18.66-20.24) and 15.11 alerts/100 orders (IQR 14.44-15.49) following the three interventions (p<0.001). In a subgroup analysis, we observed a decrease in pharmacists' override rates for DDI alerts that were not modified in the system from a median of 93.06 overrides/100 alerts (IQR 91.96-94.33) to 85.68 overrides/100 alerts (IQR 84.29-87.15, p<0.001). The medication serious safety event rate decreased during the study period, and there were no serious safety events reported in association with the deactivated alert rules.</p>
<p><strong>CONCLUSIONS: </strong>An alert dashboard facilitated safe rapid-cycle reductions in alert burden that were temporally associated with lower pharmacist override rates in a subgroup of DDIs not directly affected by the interventions; meanwhile, the pharmacists' frequency of selecting the 'cancel' option increased. We hypothesize that reducing the alert burden enabled pharmacists to devote more attention to clinically relevant alerts.</p>
J Am Med Inform Assoc