How better alerts improve HIV outcomes

Here’s one more reason to consider implementing a clinical decision- support system with interactive alerts: It improves outcomes for HIV patients, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In the study, researchers from Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital divided 1,011 patients at a large outpatient clinic based on receipt of two types of alerts (for virologic failure, evidence of suboptimal followup and abnormal laboratory results). For the control group of patients, alerts appeared only on the patient’s electronic medical records (EMR) page.

For the intervention group of patients, alerts appeared on the health-care provider’s home page and in biweekly emails, and linked to previous appointments and lab results.

When the yearlong study was complete, researchers found that the intervention group showed significant improvement in the count of CD4-positive T cells during the year-long study.

The new alerts were so successful that more than 90 percent of participating providers supported making them part of the clinic’s standard care.

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