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Epic Outcomes

Warnings Designed with Patient Safety in Mind

Clinicians use Epic analytics to reduce warning frequency without impact to quality or safety

Medication warnings in Epic help ensure that clinicians order safe and effective courses of treatment, avoiding improperly high doses, patient allergies, and interactions between medications. The frequency of warnings requires thoughtful design to protect patient safety while avoiding false positives that could cause alert fatigue.

One organization in the Netherlands, Ziekenhuis St Jansdal, used analytics in Epic and a clinical review board to audit all medication warnings. Clinicians proposed changes to eliminate unnecessary warnings and combine similar notifications. They performed extensive risk analysis of proposed changes to identify safeguards against user error and reduce the risk of safety issues. In their first 16 months after going live on Epic, St Jansdal saw a 70% reduction in warnings, resulting in an average of six warnings for every 100 orders.

“Using the built-in analytics in Epic, we were able to optimize our medication review process,” said Pieter Helmons, chief pharmacy informatics officer. “Now we’re using warnings where they help us maintain quality and safety, without adding an unnecessary burden to our providers.”

Epic community members can learn more from St Jansdal’s Clinical Program.