Background/Rationale The VA's medication alert system automatically warns prescribers about potential drug-drug interactions, drug-allergy interactions, etc during order entry. These alerts are particularly important given that an ever-increasing number of medications are available for treatment and preventable medication errors contribute to many ADEs. However, VA data suggest that many alerts do not aid prescribing processes. In addition, several barriers identified during routine VA prescribing relate to the design of medication alerts. The feasibility of prototyping and evaluating alert redesigns has not been previously demonstrated. Objectives The objective of this pilot proposal is to investigate whether interface redesigns can effectively address some common problems associated with medication alerts and evaluate the feasibility of these methods for a larger, more complex investigation of alert redesigns.
The specific aims for this study are as follows:
Aim 1 : Design new medication alert prototypes and evaluate the usability of these redesigns.
Aim 2 : Assess whether alert redesigns reduce common barriers associated with current medication alerts. Methods For Aim 1, we will analyze data from previous VA studies and gather input from an expert advisory panel to create medication alert redesign prototypes. Then, we will develop and test clinically-relevant scenarios to evaluate the usability of these redesigns.
For Aim 2, we will conduct usability tests with VA prescribers and collect quantitative and qualitative data for redesigns and current alerts to assess whether the new prototypes mitigate problems associated with current VA medication alerts. Impact on Veteran's Healthcare This study will address common design problems that weaken the effectiveness of medication alerts. Results from this pilot project will help the VA understand how to design alerts to better support clinical workflow during medication order entry. Findings from this investigation can be used to improve medication alert design for prescribers and may ultimately be used to enhance medication safety for veterans.
Impact on Veterans'Healthcare This study will address common design problems that weaken the effectiveness of computerized medication alerts. Findings will be shared with local and national VA informatics leaders. Study results will help the VA understand how to design alerts to better support clinical workflow during medication order entry. Results from this investigation can be used to improve medication alert design for prescribers and may ultimately be used to enhance medication safety for veterans.