Coming Soon: PSNet is Getting a Redesign!Learn More
PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Clinically inconsequential alerts: the characteristics of opioid drug alerts and their utility in preventing adverse drug events in the emergency department.

Genco EK, Forster JE, Flaten H, et al. Annals of emergency medicine. 2016;67:240-248.e3.

The concept of "number needed to treat" is used to quantify the number of patients who would need to undergo therapy to prevent one adverse clinical outcome. This study of opioid prescribing in an academic emergency department found that prescribers had to view more than 123 unnecessary alerts to prevent one adverse drug event. Studies such as this help quantify the number needed to treat for computerized warnings, a critical step forward in understanding and mitigating alert fatigue.