Appl Clin Inform 2020; 11(03): 487-496
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1714276
Research Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Clinician Perceptions of Timing and Presentation of Drug-Drug Interaction Alerts

Kate E. Humphrey
1  Patient Safety and Quality, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
,
Maria Mirica
2  General Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
,
Shobha Phansalkar
3  Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
,
Al Ozonoff
4  Precision Vaccines Program, Division of Infectious Diseases, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
5  Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
,
Marvin B. Harper
6  Emergency Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding Funding was supported through grant funds issued by The Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions (CRICO/RMF).
Further Information

Publication History

21 February 2020

11 June 2020

Publication Date:
22 July 2020 (online)

Abstract

Objective Alert presentation of clinical decision support recommendations is a common method for providing information; however, many alerts are overridden suggesting presentation design improvements can be made. This study attempts to assess pediatric prescriber information needs for drug–drug interactions (DDIs) alerts and to evaluate the optimal presentation timing and presentation in the medication ordering process.

Methods Six case scenarios presented interactions between medications used in pediatric specialties of general medicine, infectious disease, cardiology, and neurology. Timing varied to include alert interruption at medication selection versus order submission; or was noninterruptive. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and independently analyzed to derive central themes.

Results Fourteen trainee and attending clinicians trained in pediatrics, cardiology, and neurology participated. Coders derived 8 central themes from 929 quotes. Discordance exists between medication prescribing frequency and DDI knowledge; providers may commonly prescribe medications for which they do not recognize DDIs. Providers wanted alerts at medication selection rather than at order signature. Alert presentation themes included standardizing text, providing interaction-specific incidence/risk information, DDI rating scales, consolidating alerts, and providing alternative therapies. Providers want alerts to be actionable, for example, allowing medication discontinuation and color visual cues for essential information. Despite alert volume, participants did not “mind being reminded because there is always the chance that at that particular moment (they) do not remember it” and acknowledged the importance of alerts as “essential in terms of patient safety.”

Conclusion Clinicians unanimously agreed on the importance of receiving DDI alerts to improve patient safety. The perceived alert value can be improved by incorporating clinician preferences for timing and presentation.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

The study was performed in compliance with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki on Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects, and was reviewed by the Boston Children's Hospital Institutional Review Board.