We conducted an observational study with interviews in a 12-bed general/neurological intensive care unit (ICU) at a teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia, to determine whether hospital-wide computerised decision support (CDS) embedded in an electronic prescribing system is used and perceived as useful by doctors in an ICU setting. Twenty doctors were shadowed by the observer while on ward rounds (33.6 hours) and non-ward rounds (28 hours) in the ICU. These doctors were also interviewed to explore views of CDS. We found that computerised alerts were triggered frequently in the ICU (n=166, in 59% of orders), less than half of the alerts were read by doctors and only four alerts resulted in a medication order being changed. Pre-written orders were utilised frequently, however reference material was rarely accessed. Interviews with doctors revealed a willingness to use CDS features; however the primary barrier to use was lack of customisation for the ICU setting. Doctors working in the ICU triggered a high number of alerts when prescribing, 40% more alerts than doctors working on general wards of the same hospital. Certain procedures in place in the ICU (e.g. daily microbiology ward rounds) made many alerts redundant in this setting. Lack of customisation for the ICU led to dissatisfaction with CDS and infrequent use of some CDS features.
- Clinical decision support systems
- Electronic prescribing
- Intensive care unit
- Medication alert systems
- Observational study