Computerized decision support systems: improving patient safety in nephrology

Nat Rev Nephrol. 2011 Jun;7(6):348-55. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2011.50. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


Incorrect prescription and administration of medications account for a substantial proportion of medical errors in the USA, causing adverse drug events (ADEs) that result in considerable patient morbidity and enormous costs to the health-care system. Patients with chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury often have impaired drug clearance as well as polypharmacy, and are therefore at increased risk of experiencing ADEs. Studies have demonstrated that recognition of these conditions is not uniform among treating physicians, and prescribed drug doses are often incorrect. Early interventions that ensure appropriate drug dosing in this group of patients have shown encouraging results. Both computerized physician order entry and clinical decision support systems have been shown to reduce the rate of ADEs. Nevertheless, these systems have been implemented at surprisingly few institutions. Economic stimulus and health-care reform legislation present a rare opportunity to refine these systems and understand how they could be implemented more widely. Failure to explore this technology could mean that the opportunity to reduce the morbidity associated with ADEs is missed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / standards*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / mortality
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy*
  • Medication Systems, Hospital / standards*
  • Nephrology / standards*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods
  • Safety Management / methods*