Physicians using electronic health record systems with clinical trial alerts experience alert fatigue but still show relatively high response rates to the alerts, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Health Data Management reports.
For the study, researchers examined alert response patterns and patient referral rates for 178 physicians who used GE Healthcare's Centricity ambulatory EHR system.
According to study, alert response rates initially were about 50% but decreased by 2.7% during each two-week period. The study found that alert response rates still were in the 30% to 40% range by the end of 36 weeks.
Researchers also found that trial referral rates began at about 33% and decreased to 9% by the end of 36 weeks.
Researchers Comment on Findings
The researchers said, "While the fall in response rate suggests alert fatigue over time, the fact that a substantial proportion of the alerts were still being responded to at 36 weeks suggests that such a duration of use may still provide benefit."
However, they wrote, "the finding that referral rates declined more quickly and more precipitously over time than response rates suggests there might be a point after which use of a [clinical trial alert] might not be worth even the minimal disruption they cause."
The researchers recommended that future deployments of clinical trial alerts be tailored to specific settings to maximize benefit and avoid excess fatigue (Goedert, Health Data Management, 7/6).