David Chan, M.D., an assistant professor at Stanford School of Medicine, has received a National Institutes of Health Early Independence Award to study the impact of electronic health record clinical reminders on the quality of primary care. These reminders include a range of clinical messages for providers, from a simple prompt to write a prescription to more complex recommendations for follow-up testing and specialist referrals.
On the one hand, electronic reminders can present helpful information to support better patient care, says Chan, also a physician scientist at Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care, in his research proposal. On the other hand, given the limits of human cognitive processing and attention, there is the distinct possibility that reminders may overburden clinicians with too much information. There is currently little empirical evidence weighing the benefits and burdens of increasing the informational content of systems of electronic reminders.
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