Electronic Alerts to Improve Heart Failure Therapy in Outpatient Practice: A Cluster Randomized Trial

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Jun 7;79(22):2203-2213. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2022.03.338. Epub 2022 Apr 3.


Background: The use of guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) is underprescribed in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

Objectives: This study sought to examine whether targeted and tailored electronic health record (EHR) alerts recommending GDMT in eligible patients with HFrEF improves GDMT use.

Methods: PROMPT-HF (PRagmatic trial Of Messaging to Providers about Treatment of Heart Failure) was a pragmatic, EHR-based, cluster-randomized comparative effectiveness trial. A total of 100 providers caring for patients with HFrEF were randomized to either an alert or usual care. The alert notified providers of individualized GDMT recommendations along with patient characteristics. The primary outcome was an increase in the number of GDMT classes prescribed at 30 days postrandomization. Providers were surveyed on knowledge of guidelines and user experience.

Results: The study enrolled 1,310 ambulatory patients with HFrEF from April to October 2021. Median age was 72 years; 31% were female; 18% were Black; and median left ventricular ejection fraction was 32%. At baseline, 84% of participants were receiving β-blockers, 71% received a renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitor, 29% received a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, and 11% received a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitor. The primary outcome occurred in 176 of 685 (26%) participants in the alert arm vs 117 of 625 (19%) in the usual care arm, thus increasing GDMT class prescription by >40% after alert exposure (adjusted relative risk: 1.41; 95% CI: 1.03-1.93; P = 0.03). The number of patients needed to alert to result in an increase in addition of GDMT classes was 14. A total of 79% of alerted providers agreed that the alert was effective at enabling improved prescription of medical therapy for HF.

Conclusions: A real-time, targeted, and tailored EHR-based alerting system for outpatients with HFrEF led to significantly higher rates of GDMT at 30 days when compared with usual care. This low-cost intervention can be rapidly integrated into clinical care and accelerate adoption of high-value therapies in heart failure. (PRagmatic trial Of Messaging to Providers about Treatment of Heart Failure [PROMPT-HF; NCT04514458]).

Keywords: electronic health record; heart failure with reduced ejection fraction; randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Electronics
  • Female
  • Heart Failure* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outpatients
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Stroke Volume
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left*
  • Ventricular Function, Left


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04514458