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Reactions of Nurses to the Use of Electronic Health Record Alert Features in an Inpatient Setting

SIDEBOTTOM, ABBEY C. MPH; COLLINS, BEVERLY RN, MS; WINDEN, TAMARA J. MBA; KNUTSON, ASHA PhD; BRITT, HEATHER R. MPH, PhD

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: April 2012 - Volume 30 - Issue 4 - p 218–226
doi: 10.1097/NCN.0b013e3182343e8f
Continuing Education

While studies have been conducted to assess nurse perception of electronic health records, once electronic health record systems are up and running, there is little to guide the use of features within the electronic health record for nursing practice. Alerts are a promising tool for implementing best practice for patient care in inpatient settings. Yet the use of alerts for inpatient nursing is understudied. This study examined nurse attitudes and reactions to alerts in the inpatient setting. Focus groups were conducted at three hospitals with 50 nurses. Nurses were asked about five different alert features. For each alert, participants were asked about their feelings and reactions to the alert, how alerts help or hinder work, and suggestions for improvements. Findings include clear preferences for alert types and content. Nurses preferred a dashboard style alert with functions included to accomplish tasks directly in the alert. While nurses reported positive reactions to certain alert pages, they also reported low use of those features and occasional distrust of the data included in alerts. Findings provide guidance for future use of alerts and design of new alerts. Findings also identify the important challenge of designing and implementing alerts for integration with nursing workflow.

Author Affiliations: Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minneapolis, MN (Mss Sidebottom, Collins, and Winden and Dr Britt), and ADVANTIS Research & Consulting, St Paul, MN (Dr Knutson).

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Abbey C. Sidebottom, MPH, Research Consulting Unit, Allina Hospitals & Clinics, 2925 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407-1321 (abbeysidebottom@allina.com).

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.