“Alert Fatigue” Frustration
The problem and potential dangers of “alert fatigue” are well documented, most recently (again) in a report published in April in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. Yes, physicians really do get overwhelmed by the number and variety of alerts displayed by all manner of medical systems – and when that occurs, alerts can lose their impact.
I find it frustrating, however, that “alert fatigue” often is discussed as if it’s a problem that can’t be solved. It can be. For example, in PatientKeeper CPOE, alerts are tuned to whatever level is most meaningful and impactful to each physician using the system. If alerts consistently tell you something important, you’ll pay attention. From a technical perspective, it’s not simple, but it is eminently doable.
I am optimistic that as more solutions with sophisticated, customizable alerting features gain traction in the market, “alert fatigue” will become a problem of the past. And so too will my “alert fatigue” frustration.