Incidence of potential drug interactions in a transplant centre setting and relevance of electronic alerts for clinical practice support

Piera Polidori, Concetta Di Giorgio, Alessio Provenzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Adverse drug events may occur as a result of drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Information technology (IT) systems can be an important decision-making tool for healthcare workers to identify DDIs. Objective The aim of the study is to analyse drug prescriptions in our main hospital units, in order to measure the incidence and severity of potentialDDIs. The utility of clinical decision-support systems (CDSSs) and computerised physician order entry (CPOE) in term of alerts adherence was also assessed. DDIs were assessed using a Micromedex1 healthcare series database. Methods The system, adopted by the hospital, generates alerts for prescriptions with negative interactions and thanks to an 'acknowledgement function' it is possible to verify physician adherence to alerts. This function, although used previously, became mandatory from September 2010. Physician adherence to alerts and mean monthly incidence of potential DDIs in analysed units, before and after the mandatory 'acknowledgement function', were calculated. Results The intensive care unit (ICU) registered the greatest incidence of potential DDIs (49.0%), followed by the abdominal surgery unit and dialysis (43.4 and 42.0%, respectively). The cardiothoracic surgery unit (41.6%), step-down unit (38.3%) and post-anaesthesia care unit (30.0%) were comparable. The operating theatre and endoscopy registered the fewest potential DDIs (28.2 and 22.7%, respectively). Adherence to alerts after the 'acknowledgement function' increased by 25.0% in the ICU, 54.0% in the cardiothoracic surgery unit, 52.5% in the abdominal surgery unit, 58.0% in the stepdown unit, 67.0% in dialysis, 51.0% in endoscopy and 48.0% in the post-anaesthesia care unit. In the operating theatre, adherence to alerts decreased from 34.0 to 30.0%. The incidence of potential DDIs after mandatory use of the 'acknowledgement function' decreased slightly in endoscopy (-2.9%), the abdominal surgery unit (-2.7%), dialysis (-1.9%) and the step-down unit (-1.4%). Conclusions Improving DDI alerts will improved patient safety by more appropriately alerting clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalInformatics in Primary Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Clinical decision-support system
  • Computerised physicians order entry
  • Drug interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Family Practice
  • Leadership and Management


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