Skip to main content

The PSNet Collection: All Content

The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.

Search All Content

Search Tips
Published Date
Original Publication Date
Original Publication Date
PSNet Publication Date
Narrow Results By
PSNet Original Content
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 Results
Ross C. STAT. May 13, 2019.
Nuisance alarms, interruptions, and insufficient staff availability can hinder effective monitoring and response to acute patient deterioration. This news article reports on how hospital logistics centers are working toward utilizing artificial intelligence to improve clinician response to alarms by proactively identifying hospitalized patients at the highest risk for heart failure to trigger emergency response teams when their condition rapidly declines.
Short K, Chung YJ. Nursing (Brux). 2019;49:52-57.
Alarm fatigue contributes to distraction and can diminish care safety. This commentary reviews a single-center project that used smartphone technology to enhance cardiac monitoring. The authors describe the structure of the project, use of Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles to design the application, results of the pilot, and plans to expand the use of this technology to other units and broaden monitoring targets. A WebM&M commentary discussed harm associated with alarm fatigue.
Wong A, Rehr C, Seger DL, et al. Drug Saf. 2019;42:573-579.
Although clinical decision support is intended to improve safety, decision support alerts often result in alert fatigue and overrides. This prospective observational study examined overrides for exceeding the maximum dose of a medication in the intensive care unit. Researchers determined that insulin was the most frequent medication for which a maximum dosage alert was overridden. In almost 90% of cases, the overrides were deemed clinically appropriate. The authors conclude that more intelligent clinical decision support for medication dosing is needed to balance safety with alert fatigue in the intensive care unit. A past PSNet perspective discussed the challenges of implementing effective medication decision support systems.
Shah T, Patel-Teague S, Kroupa L, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2018;28:10-14.
Alert fatigue associated with electronic health records (EHRs) contributes to primary care physician burnout and can increase medication errors. The phenomenon is especially well-described in the Veterans Affairs (VA) system, where providers receive more than 100 alerts per day, which require an average of 85 seconds to address. This study describes a nationwide VA initiative to reduce EHR alerts in primary care and teach providers to process alerts more efficiently. Alerts decreased by a small but significant amount—from an average of 128 per day to an average of 116 per day. Providers who received the most alerts before the initiative experienced the largest alert reduction. A PSNet perspective described a way forward in improving EHR safety.
Paine CW, Goel V, Ely E, et al. J Hosp Med. 2016;11:136-144.
Alarm safety is now a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal. This systematic review analyzed 24 studies on alarm characteristics and 8 studies that evaluated interventions to improve alert fatigue. Consistent with other studies, the vast majority of the time, alarms do not signal problems that require clinician action. The most promising intervention strategies for reducing alarms that have emerged thus far are widening alarm parameters, implementing alarm delays, and frequently changing telemetry electrodes and wires. A PSNet perspective discussed approaches to reduce alert fatigue while maintaining safety.
Genco EK, Forster JE, Flaten H, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 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.
Lester PE, Rios-Rojas L, Islam S, et al. Drugs Aging. 2015;32:227-33.
Older patients are particularly vulnerable to medication errors, with certain high-risk medications accounting for a large proportion of adverse drug events in these patients. This study evaluated the effect of warnings within a computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system targeting prescribing of unsafe medications to patients aged 65 years and older. The warnings resulted in a significant decrease in prescribing of two of the three medications targeted over a 3-year period. The authors note that there were readily available, safer alternatives for those medications, but not for the drug which continued to be prescribed. Also, prescription rates of all three medications were unchanged in younger patients, indicating that the tailored nature of the alerts played a role in their effectiveness. While clinical decision support within CPOE does have some effect on safe prescribing, the use of computerized warnings of this type must be balanced against the very real possibility that alert fatigue may develop as a result.
Balasuriya L, Vyles D, Bakerman P, et al. J Patient Saf. 2017;13:144-148.
This before-and-after study found that introduction of a tiered alert system for medication dosages in pediatric patients led to an increase in alerts, but also resulted in fewer overridden alerts and more medication order revisions. This work emphasizes the need to improve electronic medication alerts to make them more actionable and reduce alert fatigue.
Nanji KC, Slight SP, Seger DL, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2014;21:487-91.
Although computerized provider order entry in the outpatient setting was intended to prevent medication errors, the utility of this intervention may have been limited by alert fatigue. This observational study of outpatient clinical decision support found that approximately 53% of alerts in prescriptions were overridden, half of which should have been addressed. This study underscores the importance of improving clinical decision support to reduce inappropriate alerts in outpatient settings. A recent AHRQ WebM&M commentary highlights strategies to prevent alert fatigue.