Background: One possible approach towards avoiding alert overload and alert fatigue in Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) systems is to tailor their drug safety alerts to the context of the clinical situation. Our objective was to identify the perceptions of physicians on the usefulness of clinical context information for prioritizing and presenting drug safety alerts.
Methods: We performed a questionnaire survey, inquiring CPOE-using physicians from four hospitals in four European countries to estimate the usefulness of 20 possible context factors.
Results: The 223 participants identified the 'severity of the effect' and the 'clinical status of the patient' as the most useful context factors. Further important factors are the 'complexity of the case' and the 'risk factors of the patient'.
Conclusions: Our findings confirm the results of a prior, comparable survey inquiring CPOE researchers. Further research should focus on implementing these context factors in CPOE systems and on subsequently evaluating their impact.