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Understanding physicians' behavior toward alerts about nephrotoxic medications in outpatients: A cross-sectional analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Sarah SlightORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2014 Cho et al. Background: Although most outpatients are relatively healthy, many have chronic renal insufficiency, and high override rates for suggestions on renal dosing have been observed. To better understand the override of renal dosing alerts in an outpatient setting, we conducted a study to evaluate which patients were more frequently prescribed contraindicated medications, to assess providers' responses to suggestions, and to examine the drugs involved and the reasons for overrides. Methods: We obtained data on renal alert overrides and the coded reasons for overrides cited by providers at the time of prescription from outpatient clinics and ambulatory hospital-based practices at a large academic health care center over a period of 3 years, from January 2009 to December 2011. For detailed chart review, a group of 6 trained clinicians developed the appropriateness criteria with excellent inter-rater reliability (κ = 0.93). We stratified providers by override frequency and then drew samples from the high- And low-frequency groups. We measured the rate of total overrides, rate of appropriate overrides, medications overridden, and the reason(s) for override. Results: A total of 4120 renal alerts were triggered by 584 prescribers in the study period, among which 78.2% (3,221) were overridden. Almost half of the alerts were triggered by 40 providers and one-third was triggered by high-frequency overriders. The appropriateness rates were fairly similar, at 28.4% and 31.6% for high- And lowfrequency overriders, respectively. Metformin, glyburide, hydrochlorothiazide, and nitrofurantoin were the most common drugs overridden. Physicians' appropriateness rates were higher than the rates for nurse practitioners (32.9% vs. 22.1%). Physicians with low frequency override rates had higher levels of appropriateness for metformin than the high frequency overriders (P = 0.005). Conclusion: A small number of providers accounted for a large fraction of overrides, as was the case with a small number of drugs. These data suggest that a focused intervention targeting primarily these providers and medications has the potential to improve medication safety.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cho I, Slight SP, Nanji KC, Seger DL, Maniam N, Dykes PC, Bates DW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Nephrology

Year: 2014

Volume: 15

Online publication date: 15/12/2014

Acceptance date: 11/12/2014

Date deposited: 06/09/2017

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2369

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/1471-2369-15-200

PubMed id: 25511564


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