Computer reminders for physicians less effective than expected

March 8, 2010

Computer reminders to physicians regarding prescribing produce much smaller improvements than initially expected, found a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Computerized systems for entering orders and are the two most widely recommended improvements in health care. These systems offer the opportunity to improve practice by delivering reminders, such as prescribing alerts, to clinicians caring for patients.

The study, a systematic review of 28 clinical trials, was conducted to measure the expected improvements in with the help of computer reminders sent to physicians during their routine electronic ordering or charting activities. It found that computer reminders improved processes of care by a median of 4.2%, with the best outcome showing a median improvement of only 5.6%.

"Computer reminders typically increased adherence to target processes of care by amounts below thresholds for clinically significant improvements," write Dr. Kaveh G. Shojania, University of Toronto and coauthors. "A minority of studies showed more substantial improvements, consistent with the expectations of those who advocate widespread adoption of computerized order entry and electronic medical systems."

The authors conclude that until further research identifies improved design and reminder features that lead to worthwhile improvements in care, "implementing these costly technologies will be an expensive exercise in trial and error."

Explore further: Computerized reminder system drove up colon cancer screening rates, study found

Related Stories

Patients are untapped resource for improving care, study finds

February 23, 2009

As the United States transitions to a new administration, and as the health care crisis mounts, the debate about how to buttress primary care delivery with information technology is getting louder. While much of the attention—and ...

Electronic tracking system can help diabetes patient care

July 6, 2009

An electronic system with personalized patient information shared by diabetes patients and their primary care providers improved diabetes care and clinical outcomes, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.