Table 1

Types of reminders in primary care clinical computer systems

Reminder typeSoftwarePurposeViewedAction requiredModal*
Drug price comparison alertPrescribing decision support software, for example, ScriptSwitch and OptimiseRx.To save on costs of prescribed drugs.A pop-up viewed when prescribing, suggesting a cheaper alternativeAction is required to close the pop-up. Information can be ignored.
Drug interaction/monitoring alertGP system standard template. Based on UK pharmaceutical reference publications. Algorithm draws on patient prescription data.To promote safe prescribing.A pop-up viewed when prescribing warning of potential drug interactionsAction is required to close the pop-up. Information can be ignored.
Allergy alertGP system standard template.
Algorithm draws on patient clinical data.
To promote safe prescribing.A pop-up viewed when prescribing warning of potential allergiesAction is required to close the pop-up. Information can be ignored.
Diagnosis alertDiagnosis decision support reminder. for example, sepsis.To increase awareness of condition as a possible diagnosis.A pop-up viewed when entering diagnosis-related patient symptoms.Data must be entered to close the pop-up.
Quality care standard reminders (eg, quality outcomes framework, influenza vaccine)GP system templates and toolkits; algorithms draw on patient clinical data.To promote evidence-based care and maximise financial payment for performance.On the patient home page and viewed when patient record is opened. Information continues to appear as icons when records are updated.Most reminders do not have to be actioned and can be ignored.×
Additional patient information alerts from set reminderPersonally created from set template, for example, safeguarding children template (Royal College of General Practice).To communicate patient-specific information to other clinicians. To create a registry.On the patient home page and viewed when patient record is opened to those granted access.No action required when viewing reminder.×
Additional patient information from generic reminderPersonally created from a generic template or free text, for example, highlighting a patient with additional needs.To communicate patient-specific information to oneself or to other clinicians and practice staff.On the patient home page and viewed when patient record is opened to those granted access.No action required when viewing reminder.×
  • *Modal alerts are those where the system shuts down and becomes unobtainable behind the alert. The user must interacted with the alert in order to return to the patient record.

  • GP, general practitioner.