Study: 4 reasons clinicians ignore EHR alerts

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A study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association investigated what factors impede clinicians from responding to EHR prompts.

The researchers — led by Philip Zazove, MD, a family medicine physician at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — conducted hour-long interviews to determine what family medicine clinicians think about electronic clinical alerts. These alerts typically remind clinicians when certain patients are due for interventions and screenings.

The researchers identified four direct barriers that hinder clinicians from addressing electronic alerts. These barriers were poor standardization and formatting; time pressures in primary care; clinic workflow variations; and mental models of the condition being prompted.

"To unleash the potential of electronic clinical alerts, electronic health record and healthcare institutions need to address some key barriers," according to the study. The main barrier, according to the researchers, was clinicians' mental model of the condition being prompted.

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