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PODCAST: Tackling Alert Fatigue

March 7, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Mark Van Kooy, M.D., from Aspen Advisors discusses the issue of clinical alert fatigue and how it disrupts physician workflow

Editor's Note: This podcast previews an article in the upcoming April issue of HCI, where we’ll cover the subject of alert fatigue more in-depth.

In this Healthcare Informatics podcast, Assistant Editor Gabriel Perna speaks with Mark Van Kooy, M.D., the director of informatics at Aspen Advisors. Dr. Van Kooy has been a clinically active physician for more than 28 years and has had several roles in informatics. Before Aspen, he served as medical director of Informatics at Virtua, a four-hospital health system in New Jersey. In this role, Van Kooy deployed Virtua’s clinical physician order entry (CPOE) system, where he worked with the medical executive committee and executive management team to streamline the technology’s adoption.

For this podcast, Van Kooy talks about alert fatigue, one of the pressing issues in clinical informatics when it comes to CPOE implementation. Alert fatigue occurs when patient safety alerts, which is a clinical decision support tool in CPOEs used to tell a physician patient shouldn’t take a prescription order for various reasons, become excessive to the point where physicians will simply override them as not to disrupt their workflow. In some cases, researchers have found physicians have overridden 98 percent of the alerts that come in their CPOE. In this podcast, Van Kooy talks extensively about the issue of alert fatigue, and gives his physician take on how it disrupts workflow; he also talks about how an evidence-based approach may be the best way to effectively address alert fatigue.

Listen below for excerpts from their conversation.