Appl Clin Inform 2022; 13(01): 019-029
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1740483
Research Article

Effect of Replacing Vendor QTc Alerts with a Custom QTc Risk Alert in Inpatients

Steven Stettner
1  Department of Pharmacy, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York, United States
Sarah Adie
2  Department of Pharmacy Services, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Sarah Hanigan
2  Department of Pharmacy Services, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Michael Thomas
3  Department of Internal Medicine-Cardiology, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Kristen Pogue
2  Department of Pharmacy Services, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Christopher Zimmerman
4  Department of Health Information and Technology Services, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
› Author Affiliations


Objective The aim of the study is to implement a customized QTc interval clinical decision support (CDS) alert strategy in our electronic health record for hospitalized patients and aimed at providers with the following objectives: minimize QTc prolongation, minimize exposure to QTc prolonging medications, and decrease overall QTc-related alerts. A strategy that was based on the validated QTc risk scoring tool and replacing medication knowledge vendor alerts with custom QTc prolongation alerts was implemented.

Methods This is a retrospective quasi-experimental study with a pre-intervention period (August 2019 to October 2019) and post-intervention period (December 2019 to February 2020). The custom alert was implemented in November 2019.

Results In the pre-implementation group, 361 (19.3%) patients developed QTc prolongation, and in the post-implementation group, 357 (19.6%) patients developed QTc prolongation (OR: 1.02, 95% CI: 0.87–1.20, p = 0.81). The odds ratio of an action taken post-implementation compared with pre-implementation was 18.90 (95% CI: 14.03–25.47, p <0. 001). There was also a decrease in total orders for QTc prolonging medications from 7,921 (5.5%) to 7,566 (5.3%) with an odds ratio of 0.96 (95% CI: 0.93–0.99, p = 0.01).

Conclusion We were able to decrease patient exposure to QTc prolonging medications while not increasing the rate of QTc prolongation as well as improving alert action rate. Additionally, there was a decrease in QTc prolonging medication orders which illustrates the benefit of using a validated risk score with a customized CDS approach compared with a traditional vendor-based strategy. Further research is needed to confirm if an approach implemented at our organization can reduce QTc prolongation rates.

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 University of Michigan Institutional Review Board. It was determined that this study was not regulated.

Publication History

Received: 07 July 2021

Accepted: 03 November 2021

Publication Date:
05 January 2022 (online)

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