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J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2010 Jul-Aug;17(4):411-5. doi: 10.1136/jamia.2009.000695.

Randomized clinical trial of a customized electronic alert requiring an affirmative response compared to a control group receiving a commercial passive CPOE alert: NSAID--warfarin co-prescribing as a test case.

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Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Pennsylvania 19104-6021, USA.



Studies that have looked at the effectiveness of computerized decision support systems to prevent drug-drug interactions have reported modest results because of low response by the providers to the automated alerts.


To evaluate, within an inpatient computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system, the incremental effectiveness of an alert that required a response from the provider, intended as a stronger intervention to prevent concurrent orders of warfarin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).


Randomized clinical trial of 1963 clinicians assigned to either an intervention group receiving a customized electronic alert requiring affirmative response or a control group receiving a commercially available passive alert as part of the CPOE. The study duration was 2 August 2006 to 15 December 2007.


Alert adherence was compared between study groups.


The proportion of desired ordering responses (ie, not reordering the alert-triggering drug after firing) was lower in the intervention group (114/464 (25%) customized alerts issued) than in the control group (154/560 (28%) passive alerts firing). The adjusted OR of inappropriate ordering was 1.22 (95% CI 0.69 to 2.16).


A customized CPOE alert that required a provider response had no effect in reducing concomitant prescribing of NSAIDs and warfarin beyond that of the commercially available passive alert received by the control group. New CPOE alerts cannot be assumed to be effective in improving prescribing, and need evaluation.

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