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87% of Physicians Say Quantity of EHR Alerts 'Excessive'

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, March 5, 2013

Singh points to workflow, people, and organizational policies and procedures as reasons for hospital and health system administration to pay attention to their systems that leave their physicians vulnerable to information overload, and their patients vulnerable to that missed information.

"Organizations can determine your workflow very strongly. So in the parent survey, we realized that only about 30% of providers were getting some type of workflow support in terms of tying in workflow processes, so if you don't have the time needed to process these alerts, then that's a problem. Because you have lots of information coming from so many different members of the system, and they are all important."

"One thing that stood out were electronic hand-offs, which occurred with doctors going on vacation for a few weeks and trying to transfer the alerts to their covering doctors, but not knowing how. So what we realized were these handoffs of care, the covering practitioners could not ever be receiving the messages or alerts either," says Singh.

"For hospital executives and health leaders, it's really important for them to know that it's time to develop a measurement system for these types of things, to understand how much these lost bits of information are affecting things,"  Singh said.


Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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2 comments on "87% of Physicians Say Quantity of EHR Alerts 'Excessive'"


Chris (3/12/2013 at 5:47 AM)
As somebody who configures systems in hospitals, my experience with physicians is that there is typically a "doctor user forum" where we go and demo the next feature of the system to be implemented. There might be 100 physicians using the system, but only 5 to 10 show up to the meeting, and of those who show up, one physician will say, I need 10 alerts. The other ones agree, and now physicians have the 10 alerts, even though 90 of them might only need 2 or 3. Then we get emails saying, I'm overloaded with alerts, but by then, we have to have another meeting to modify the system, and well, cycle repeats. 10 doctors show up, and well, nothing gets done.

Regulation Room (3/5/2013 at 3:03 PM)
The federal government is updating the National Health Information Technology Strategic Plan. The Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) has partnered with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to facilitate public participation in these efforts. CeRI's participation website (http://planningroom.org/) will provide a forum for understanding the goals and strategies for development of e-health records, health information exchanges and consumer health IT products. It makes it easier for a broad range of interested participants – doctors, patients, caregivers, other healthcare providers and developers – to have their say. If you have any suggestions or comments relating to the adoption of e-Health practices in the US healthcare system, please join the discussion soon when the site launches at http://planningroom.org/