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Published on 16 November 2011

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Preventing alert fatigue crucial to e-prescribing


Research that could ultimately lead to safer use of electronic prescribing systems was the focus of a workshop hosted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Experts from other European centres of excellence joined UHB colleagues at the two-day seminar to look at the issue of alert fatigue among clinicians and to discuss ways of developing studies to help tackle the problem.

An academic paper summarising the discussions will follow, and there are also plans to pursue EU-funding to undertake multi-centre studies on alert fatigue that can be translated into practice.

The workshop was the first in a series on e-prescribing made possible through funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), awarded to the Trust in January 2010 to facilitate knowledge transfer between renowned experts under the ‘Developing Centres of Excellence’ banner.

Those attending included experts from Erasmus University in the Netherlands, the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the University of Heidelberg in Germany and the University of Nottingham.

Jamie Coleman, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology at UHB, who is leading on e-prescribing within the ERDF project, said: “Alert fatigue occurs when prescribers receive too many alerts and begin to ignore or override the alerts. True alerts may be ignored, negating many of the intended benefits of the system.

“Preventing alert fatigue within electronic prescribing systems is challenging and little work has been undertaken to establish the important research priorities.

“Our discussions at the workshop made tremendous progress in terms of developing collaborations that will hopefully initiate research and facilitate knowledge transfer between the centres involved.”

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

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