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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Rising drug allergy alert overrides in electronic health records: an observational retrospective study of a decade of experience.

Topaz M, Seger DL, Slight SP, et al. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA. 2016;23:601-8.

Alert fatigue is recognized as a barrier to patient safety and may particularly increase risks associated with medication prescribing. This study examined the frequency of manual overrides of alerts for medication allergies over a 10-year period. Clinicians were required to provide a reason for overriding the allergy alert. As with earlier studies, the rate of overrides was very high. Researchers determined that the alerts were irrelevant in more than half the cases. Providers also were more likely to override repeated alerts compared with new alerts. These results highlight the overuse of alerts in health care settings and the need to improve their use to effectively support patient safety.