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Legislation/Regulation > Sentinel Event Alerts
Sentinel Event Alert. September 24, 2008;(41):1-4.
Anticoagulant therapies such as heparin and warfarin are considered high-alert medications, due to the high potential for patient harm if used improperly. They have been associated with adverse events in a variety of settings, including in hospitalized patients and outpatients, and ensuring the safety of patients receiving anticoagulants is a National Patient Safety Goal for 2008. This sentinel event alert issued by the Joint Commission discusses the root causes of anticoagulant-associated patient harm and recommends strategies for reducing errors, including implementation of a pharmacist-led anticoagulation service. Sentinel event alerts are intended to promote rapid implementation of patient safety strategies, and adherence to these recommendations is assessed on site visits by the Joint Commission.
Scott A. Drug Topics (Health-System Edition). November 10, 2008.
This article discusses hospital efforts to respond to the Joint Commission sentinel event alert regarding anticoagulants and highlights improvement strategies.
Journal Article > Study
Unintended effects of a computerized physician order entry nearly hard-stop alert to prevent a drug interaction: a randomized controlled trial.
Strom BL, Schinnar R, Aberra F, et al. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:1578-1583.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems prevent prescribing errors by warning clinicians about medication interactions or contraindications. However, extensive research has shown that clinicians ignore many warnings, especially those perceived as clinically inconsequential. In this randomized trial, investigators created a "hard stop" warning that essentially prevented co-prescribing of warfarin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (a combination that exposes patients to severe bleeding risks). Although the hard stop was much more successful than a less stringent warning at preventing co-prescribing, the trial was stopped and the warning abandoned because several patients experienced delays in needed treatment with one of the drugs. The accompanying editorial by Dr. David Bates points out that this study vividly illustrates the unintended consequences of CPOE, a persistent issue that has slowed the pace of CPOE implementation.