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Advanced alerting features: displaying new relevant data and retracting alerts.

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  • 1Department of Information Systems, Partners Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA.


We added two advanced features to our automated alerting system. The first feature identifies and displays, at the time an alert is reviewed, relevant data filed between the login time of a specimen leading to an alerting result and the time the alert is reviewed. Relevant data is defined as data of the same kind as generated the alert. The other feature retracts alerts when the alerting value is edited and no longer satisfies the alerting criteria. We evaluated the two features for a 14-week period (new relevant data) and a 6-week period (retraction). Of a total of 1104 alerts in the 14-week evaluation, 286 (25.9%) had new relevant data displayed at alert review time. Of the 286, 75.2% were due to additions of comments to the original piece of alerting data; 24.1% were due to new or pending laboratory results of the same type that generated the alert. Two alerts (out of 490) were retracted in a 6 week period. We conclude that in our system, new clinically relevant data is often added between the time of specimen login and the time that an alerting result from that specimen is reviewed. Retractions occur rarely but are important to detect and communicate.

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