U of Arizona to develop EHR alerts for patients at risk of drug-induced sudden cardiac death

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University of Arizona in Phoenix researchers received a $766,000 grant to develop alerts within an EHR system that notify physicians when a prescription drug may put a patient at risk of cardiac arrhythmia.

The researchers will use the two-year grant within Phoenix-based Banner Health facilities across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. The project will use the medical facilities' EHR and prescribing systems to identify patients at high risk of cardiac arrhythmia from medications that can prolong heart recharging intervals. More than 150 common medications can provoke cardiac arrhythmia, according to a news release.

Researchers will also use patient information already recorded in the EHR, as well as data imported from the hospitals' electrocardiogram equipment, to create the EHR alerts.

"In addition to making this alert as specific and precise as possible, we will conduct usability testing to ensure it works in the provider's workflow," Corneliu Antonescu, MD, physician informaticist with Banner Health, said in news release.

The project's grant was awarded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In addition to the alert system, the grant will fund educational programs to teach providers how to use and respond to the computer-generated alerts.

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