Scientific article
Open access

Development and assessment of PharmaCheck: an electronic screening tool for the prevention of twenty major adverse drug events

Published inBMC medical informatics and decision making, vol. 22, no. 1, 146
Publication date2022-05-31
First online date2022-05-31

Background: Adverse drug events (ADEs) can be prevented by deploying clinical decision support systems (CDSS) that directly assist physicians, via computerized order entry systems, and clinical pharmacists performing medication reviews as part of medical rounds. However, physicians using CDSS are known to be exposed to the alert-fatigue phenomenon. Our study aimed to assess the performance of PharmaCheck-a CDSS to help clinical pharmacists detect high-risk situations with the potential to lead to ADEs-and its impact on clinical pharmacists’ activities.

Methods: Twenty clinical rules, divided into four risk classes, were set for the daily screening of high-risk situations in the electronic health records of patients admitted to our General Internal Medicine Department. Alerts to clinical pharmacists encouraged them to telephone prescribers and suggest any necessary treatment adjustments. PharmaCheck’s performance was assessed using the intervention’s positive predictive value (PPV), which characterizes the proportion of interventions for each alert triggered. PharmaCheck’s impact was assessed by considering clinical pharmacists as a filter for ruling out futile alerts and by comparing the final clinical PPV with a pharmacist (the proportion of interventions that led to a change in the medical regimen) to the final clinical PPV without a pharmacist.

Results: Over 132 days, 447 alerts were triggered for 383 patients, leading to 90 interventions (overall intervention PPV = 20.1%). By risk class, intervention PPVs made up 26.9% (n = 65/242) of abnormal laboratory value alerts, 3.1% (4/127) of alerts for contraindicated medications or medications to be used with caution, 28.2% (20/71) of drug-drug interaction alerts, and 14.3% (1/7) of inadequate mode of administration alerts. Clinical PPVs reached 71.0% (64/90) when pharmacists filtered alerts and 14% (64/242) if they were not doing it.

Conclusion: PharmaCheck enabled clinical pharmacists to improve their traditional processes and broaden their coverage by focusing on 20 high-risk situations. Alert management by pharmacists seemed to be a more effective way of preventing risky situations and alert-fatigue than a model addressing alerts to physicians exclusively. Some fine-tuning could enhance PharmaCheck's performance by considering the information quality of triggers, the variability of clinical settings, and the fact that some prescription processes are already highly secured.

  • Clinical decision support system (CDSS)
  • Clinical pharmacy
  • Clinical rules
  • Rule-based system
Citation (ISO format)
SKALAFOURIS, Christian et al. Development and assessment of PharmaCheck: an electronic screening tool for the prevention of twenty major adverse drug events. In: BMC medical informatics and decision making, 2022, vol. 22, n° 1, p. 146. doi: 10.1186/s12911-022-01885-8
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1472-6947

Technical informations

Creation06/15/2022 9:04:00 AM
First validation06/15/2022 9:04:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 9:02:49 AM
Status update03/16/2023 9:02:48 AM
Last indexation08/31/2023 10:06:46 AM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack