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Computer reminders for physicians less effective than expected

Date:
March 8, 2010
Source:
Canadian Medical Association Journal
Summary:
Computer reminders to physicians regarding prescribing produce much smaller improvements than initially expected, found a new study.

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 electronic medical records 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 patient care 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."


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The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Computer reminders for physicians less effective than expected." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308122027.htm>.
Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2010, March 8). Computer reminders for physicians less effective than expected. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308122027.htm
Canadian Medical Association Journal. "Computer reminders for physicians less effective than expected." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308122027.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

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