A computerized laboratory alerting system

MD Comput. 1990 Sep-Oct;7(5):296-301.


A computerized laboratory alerting system (CLAS) has been developed as part of an ongoing effort to improve the quality of care at LDS Hospital. The system identifies potentially life-threatening conditions on the basis of laboratory findings and then generates appropriate warnings and transmits them to clinicians. Use of the system has led to a significant increase in the proportion of patients in life-threatening situations who have received appropriate care (50.8% before implementation vs. 62.5% afterward, P less than 0.05). Among patients with hypokalemia, falling potassium levels, hyperkalemia, hypokalemia during treatment with digoxin, hyponatremia, falling sodium levels, hypernatremia, hypoglycemia, or hyperglycemia, the average length of time spent in the life-threatening situation has decreased from 30.4 to 15.7 hours (P less than 0.05) and the average length of stay has decreased from 14.6 to 8.8 days (P less than 0.05). There has been little change in the proportion of patients with findings indicating metabolic acidosis who have received appropriate care (32.3 vs. 34.6%). We conclude that CLAS has an important role in patient care at our hospital.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Clinical Laboratory Information Systems*
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Emergencies
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Mortality
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Utah