Optimizing drug-dose alerts using commercial software throughout an integrated health care system

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Nov 1;24(6):1149-1154. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocx031.


All default electronic health record and drug reference database vendor drug-dose alerting recommendations (single dose, daily dose, dose frequency, and dose duration) were silently turned on in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency department areas for pediatric-only and nonpediatric-only populations. Drug-dose alerts were evaluated during a 3-month period. Drug-dose alerts fired on 12% of orders (104 098/834 911). System-level and drug-specific strategies to decrease drug-dose alerts were analyzed. System-level strategies included: (1) turning off all minimum drug-dosing alerts, (2) turning off all incomplete information drug-dosing alerts, (3) increasing the maximum single-dose drug-dose alert threshold to 125%, (4) increasing the daily dose maximum drug-dose alert threshold to 125%, and (5) increasing the dose frequency drug-dose alert threshold to more than 2 doses per day above initial threshold. Drug-specific strategies included changing drug-specific maximum single and maximum daily drug-dose alerting parameters for the top 22 drug categories by alert frequency. System-level approaches decreased alerting to 5% (46 988/834 911) and drug-specific approaches decreased alerts to 3% (25 455/834 911). Drug-dose alerts varied between care settings and patient populations.

Keywords: EHR; clinical decision support; drug-dose alerts; optimizing.

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Drug Therapy, Computer-Assisted
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems*
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Software*