Study Shows That Too Many EHR Notifications Causing Missed Test Results

Hardeep-Singh-M.D.-MPHA new post from Dark Daily says that a study shows too many electronic alerts cause nearly 30% of primary care physicians to overlook essential clinical laboratory test results. This according to researchers, including Hardeep Singh (pictured left), M.D., MPH, who led the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center research team. Unfortunately, it looks like EHR systems are plagued by ‘alert overload.’ Which is what we’d expect, though, in an industry producing lackluster products.

In total, 5,001 VA physicians were invited to participate in the study, and of the 2,590 primary care physicians (PCPs) who did, some 29.8% overlooked test results from an EHR alert system on at least one occasion. Singh and his researchers’ survey findings suggested three factors that could lead to missed results in EHRs:

1. Information overload from alert notifications
2. Electronic handoffs of care from one provider to another
3. Perceptions among providers about poor usability of the EHR.

The first reason seems extremely probable, given that Singh admitted in an interview with Time that he has missed alerts. He told the publication, “If you’re getting 100 emails a day, you are bound to miss a few. I study this area, and I still sometimes miss emails. We have good intentions, but sometimes getting too many [emails] can be a problem.” In that same article, it was noted that even with notification system in place, its benefits are negated if there’s no corresponding system that determines who should act on the alert.

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“Study Shows Too Many Electronic Alerts Cause 30% of Primary Care Physicians to Overlook Essential Clinical Laboratory Test Results” | Dark Daily
(Photo courtesy of Veterans Administration)