Development of a Perioperative Medication-Related Clinical Decision Support Tool to Prevent Medication Errors: An Analysis of User Feedback

Appl Clin Inform. 2021 Oct;12(5):984-995. doi: 10.1055/s-0041-1736339. Epub 2021 Nov 24.


Objectives: Medication use in the perioperative setting presents many patient safety challenges that may be improved with electronic clinical decision support (CDS). The objective of this paper is to describe the development and analysis of user feedback for a robust, real-time medication-related CDS application designed to provide patient-specific dosing information and alerts to warn of medication errors in the operating room (OR).

Methods: We designed a novel perioperative medication-related CDS application in four phases: (1) identification of need, (2) alert algorithm development, (3) system design, and (4) user interface design. We conducted group and individual design feedback sessions with front-line clinician leaders and subject matter experts to gather feedback about user requirements for alert content and system usability. Participants were clinicians who provide anesthesia (attending anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and house staff), OR pharmacists, and nurses.

Results: We performed two group and eight individual design feedback sessions, with a total of 35 participants. We identified 20 feedback themes, corresponding to 19 system changes. Key requirements for user acceptance were: Use hard stops only when necessary; provide as much information as feasible about the rationale behind alerts and patient/clinical context; and allow users to edit fields such as units, time, and baseline values (e.g., baseline blood pressure).

Conclusion: We incorporated user-centered design principles to build a perioperative medication-related CDS application that uses real-time patient data to provide patient-specific dosing information and alerts. Emphasis on early user involvement to elicit user requirements, workflow considerations, and preferences during application development can result in time and money efficiencies and a safer and more usable system.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems*
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control