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Koeck JA, Young NJ, Kontny U, et al. Pediatric Drugs. 2021;23:223-240.
Pediatric patients are at risk for medication prescribing errors due to weight-based dosing. This review analyzed 70 interventions aimed at reducing weight-based prescribing errors. Findings indicate that bundled interventions are most effective, and that interventions should include substitute or engineering controls (e.g., computerized provider order entry) along with administrative controls (e.g., expert consultation).
Co Z, Holmgren AJ, Classen DC, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2021;12:153-163.
Medication errors occur frequently in ambulatory care settings. This article describes the development and testing of an ambulatory medication safety evaluation tool, which is based on an inpatient version administered by The Leapfrog Group. Pilot testing at seven clinics around the US indicates that clinics struggled in areas of advanced decision support such as drug age and drug monitoring, and that most clinics lacked EHR-based medication reconciliation functions.

Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety. Plymouth Meeting, PA: ECRI Institute; 2021.

Alert fatigue is a recognized contributor to task burden and medical error. This report distilled monitoring, analysis, and optimization experiences to recommend strategies for improving the effectiveness of clinical audible alerts which includes the development of an overarching clinical decision support governance plan.
Delvaux N, Piessens V, Burghgraeve TD, et al. Implement Sci. 2020;15:100.
Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) have the potential to improve patient safety. This randomized trial evaluated the impact of integrating CDSS into CPOE among general practitioners in Belgium. The intervention improved appropriateness and decreased volume of laboratory test ordering and did not show any increases in diagnostic errors.
Pedersen CA, Schneider PJ, Ganio MC, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77:1026-1050.
This article describes results from the 2019 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists national survey regarding inpatient pharmacy practice. The authors note the increasing responsibilities placed on pharmacists and their role in addressing the opioid crisis, adopting intravenous workflow technologies, and leveraging clinical decision support tools to improve medication administration safety.
Kuitunen SK, Niittynen I, Airaksinen M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e1669-e1680.
The objective of this systematic review was to identify systemic defenses (such as barcode scanning) to confirm drug and patient identity, clinical decision systems, and smart infusion pumps) to prevent in-hospital intravenous (IV) medication errors. Of the 46 included studies, most discussed systemic defenses related to drug administration; fewer discussed defenses during prescribing, preparation, treatment monitoring and dispensing. Closed loop medication management and smart pumps were the most common systemic defenses examined in the included studies; the authors identify a need for further studies exploring the effectiveness of different combinations of systemic defenses.
Classen DC, Holmgren AJ, Co Z, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3.
Researchers measured the safety performance of electronic health record (EHR) systems using simulated medication orders that can lead to adverse events or death in order to evaluate how well the systems identified these errors, and the mitigating effect of computerized physician order entry and clinical decision support (CDS) tools. Safety performance increased moderately over the 10-year study period but there was considerable variation in performance based on the level of decision support (basic or more complex) and EHR vendor; safety risks persist despite EHR implementation.
Edrees H, Amato MG, Wong A, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020;27:893-900.
Clinical decision support alerts can notify clinicians to potential prescribing errors and potentially avoid adverse drug events. This retrospective study evaluated over 16,000 alerts for drug-drug interactions and found that nearly 96% were overridden by providers; of these overrides, 45.4% were deemed appropriate upon chart review. Alerts for high-priority drug-drug interactions were overridden 87% of the time, and chart review determined that only 0.5% of these alerts were appropriate. The researchers found that 5.1 adverse drug events occurred per 100 overrides. 
Austin J, Barras M, Sullivan C. Int J Med Inform. 2020;135.
The authors systematically reviewed the evidence on electronic health record (EHR) interventions designed to improve the safety and quality of anticoagulation administration in inpatient hospitals settings. The 27 articles meeting inclusion criteria examined four types of interventions: computerized physician order entry (CPOE), clinical decision support systems (CDSS), dashboards, and general EHR implementation. Included studies reported reductions in medication errors and adverse drug events with use of CPOE and CDDS, but studies did not find benefits to other adverse events (e.g., bleeding events), readmissions or length of stay. Overall, the review found limited evidence demonstrating the benefit of inpatient EHR interventions in improving anticoagulation safety and quality.
Clinical decision support systems provide information or recommendations to help clinicians make safe and evidence-based decisions. The use and sophistication of these systems have grown markedly over the past decade, due to widespread implementation of electronic health records and advances in clinical informatics.
Vélez-Díaz-Pallarés M, Pérez-Menéndez-Conde C, Bermejo-Vicedo T. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2018;75:1909-1921.
Use of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) is increasingly widespread. This systematic review found that while CPOE with clinical decision support reduced certain medication errors associated with prescribing, CPOE led to the introduction of new errors.
Pontefract SK, Hodson J, Slee A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;27:725-736.
Although computerized provider order entry (CPOE) reliably reduces medication errors, clinical decision support has more varied impact on safety outcomes. System complexity, insufficient emphasis on human factors engineering, and alert fatigue limit utility of clinical decision support. This study rigorously examined medication error rates before and after implementation of CPOE with clinical decision support at three hospitals in England. In a sample of 2422 patients, the overall error rate decreased 20%. At one hospital, the error rate did not change because an increase in a specific insulin prescribing error counterbalanced all other error reduction. All three hospitals implemented clinical decision support, but the type, nature, and efficacy varied markedly, even between the two systems implementing the same CPOE. A PSNet perspective synthesized lessons for assessing electronic health record safety as a whole.
Cresswell KM, Lee L, Mozaffar H, et al. Health Serv Res. 2017;52:1928-1957.
Computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support are patient safety strategies with significant implementation challenges. This qualitative study aimed to characterize engagement with these two activities across multiple hospitals in the United Kingdom. Investigators conducted interviews, employed direct observation, and reviewed documents such as implementation plans. Their analysis demonstrated a need for ongoing platform improvement (including bug fixes and local tailoring) and for monitoring how these two strategies are used to provide feedback and ensure optimal use. They conclude that in order to realize the benefits of computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support, hospitals must work with frontline staff over time, not just prior to implementation. In a previous PSNet interview, Dr. Robert Wachter discussed the challenges of implementing health information technology.
Prgomet M, Li L, Niazkhani Z, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017;24:413-422.
While prior research has shown that computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support systems have the potential to improve patient safety, less is known about the impact of such systems in intensive care units. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, investigators found an 85% decrease in prescribing errors and a 12% reduction in ICU mortality rates in critical care units that converted from paper orders to commercially available computerized provider order entry systems.
Brenner SK, Kaushal R, Grinspan Z, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016;23:1016-36.
Health information technology (IT) has had a profound impact on health care. Although health IT has led to efficiency gains and improved safety, unintended consequences remain a concern. In this systematic review, researchers analyzed 69 studies from 2001 through 2012 that examined the use of health IT in a clinical setting and its effect on safety outcomes for patients. About one-third of the studies demonstrated a positive impact of health IT on patient safety outcomes, but many of these focused on the hospital setting, involved a single institution, and looked at decision support or computerized provider order entry. The authors suggest that future studies should focus on other areas in which the impact of health IT remains understudied, such as in outpatient and long-term care settings, and they underscore the need for higher quality research. A recent WebM&M commentary described the unintended consequences of health IT.
Slight SP, Beeler PE, Seger DL, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2016;26.
Clinical decision support systems are intended to improve safety by providing clinicians with information about potential harms—principally harmful drug interactions and allergies—at the point of care. Analyzing more than 150,000 drug allergy warnings in the inpatient and outpatient settings within a single health care system, this study examined how often the warnings were overridden and the appropriateness of prescribers' reasons for doing so. Clinicians overrode 81% of warnings in hospitalized patients and 77% of alerts in outpatients. More than 96% of the overrides were judged appropriate by independent clinical reviewers. These proportions are similar to prior studies. A common appropriate reason for overriding was that the patient had actually tolerated the drug in question, leading the authors to call for improving the accuracy of allergy documentation in electronic medical records. A few classes of drugs accounted for a large proportion of overridden alerts, suggesting that enhancing the accuracy of allergy warnings for these drugs could significantly reduce the overall burden of alerts. Given that alert fatigue is an increasingly recognized patient safety hazard, creating tailored alerts could help clinical decision support systems achieve their potential to improve safety.
Section 4. Health IT Playbook. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
Overdoses of opioid medications are considered an epidemic in the United States. This website provides access to various resources for hospitals and clinicians to help them address this patient safety concern as part of a larger collection of materials related to the effective use of health information technology. Sections include guidelines, clinical decision support, electronic prescribing, and prescription drug monitoring programs.
Her QL, Amato MG, Seger DL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016;23:924-33.
Users often bypass alerts meant to enhance the safety of medication ordering and dispensing technologies. This observational study at a large academic medical center found approximately one in five nonformulary medication alerts are inappropriately overridden. The authors suggest strategies that future research should examine for improving the design of nonformulary alerts.
HIM J. 2015;44.
This quality improvement study to enhance the safety of chemotherapy was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan. Investigators found that standardized chemotherapy orders within a computerized provider order entry system were associated with fewer medication errors as well as improved dispensing efficiency compared with the older, paper-based order system.