Usability and impact of a computerized clinical decision support intervention designed to reduce urinary catheter utilization and catheter-associated urinary tract infections

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2014 Sep;35(9):1147-55. doi: 10.1086/677630. Epub 2014 Jul 25.


Objective: To evaluate the usability and effectiveness of a computerized clinical decision support (CDS) intervention aimed at reducing the duration of urinary tract catheterizations.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Academic healthcare system.

Patients: All adult patients admitted from March 2009 through May 2012.

Intervention: A CDS intervention was integrated into a commercial electronic health record. Providers were prompted at order entry to specify the indication for urinary catheter insertion. On the basis of the indication chosen, providers were alerted to reassess the need for the urinary catheter if it was not removed within the recommended time. Three time periods were examined: baseline, after implementation of the first intervention (stock reminder), and after a second iteration (homegrown reminder). The primary endpoint was the usability of the intervention as measured by the proportion of reminders through which providers submitted a remove urinary catheter order. Secondary endpoints were the urinary catheter utilization ratio and the rate of hospital-acquired catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs).

Result: The first intervention displayed limited usability, with 2% of reminders resulting in a remove order. Usability improved to 15% with the revised reminder. The catheter utilization ratio declined over the 3 time periods (0.22, 0.20, and 0.19, respectively; P < .001), as did CAUTIs per 1,000 patient-days (0.84, 0.70, and 0.51, respectively; P < .001).

Conclusions: A urinary catheter removal reminder system was successfully integrated within a healthcare system's electronic health record. The usability of the reminder was highly dependent on its user interface, with a homegrown version of the reminder resulting in higher impact than a stock reminder.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Catheter-Related Infections / prevention & control*
  • Catheters, Indwelling
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical / organization & administration*
  • Device Removal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reminder Systems*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urinary Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Urinary Catheterization / instrumentation
  • Urinary Catheterization / methods
  • Urinary Catheterization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urinary Catheters
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*
  • Young Adult