Computer-generated reminders influence professional practice

Clinical question: 
How effective are computer-generated reminders delivered on paper to healthcare professionals on professional practice and health care outcomes?
Bottom line: 
There was moderate quality evidence that computer-generated reminders delivered on paper to healthcare professionals achieved a moderate (7%) absolute improvement in processes of care. Median improvement in processes of care also differed according to the behaviour the reminder targeted: for instance, reminders to vaccinate improved processes of care by 13.1% (absolute improvement) compared with other targeted behaviours. Reminders to discuss issues with patients were the least effective. Two characteristics emerged as significant predictors of improvement: providing space on the reminder for a response from the clinician, and providing an explanation of the reminder's content or advice. Reminders were not associated with significant improvements in health care outcomes.
Caveat: 
None of the included studies reported outcomes related to harms or adverse effects of the intervention, such as redundant testing or overdiagnosis.
Context: 
Healthcare professionals do not always provide care that is recommended or that reflects the latest research, partly because of information overload or inaccessibility. Reminders may help doctors overcome these problems by reminding them about important information or providing advice, in a more accessible and relevant format, at a particularly appropriate time.
Review CD#: 
CD001175
PEARLS No: 
385
Date: 
March, 2013
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy