Alert fatigue is the concept of poor signal to noise ratio caused by CDSS with an active alerting mechanism. Alert fatigue is defined as the “Mental fatigue experienced by health care providers who encounter numerous alerts and reminders from the use of CDSS” . Alert fatigue causes physicians to override 49–96% of the current medication safety alerts from basic CDSS as well as advanced medication related CDSS. The main reasons for overriding alerts are: low specificity, unnecessary workflow disruption and unclear information [34, 35]. Many of these aspects are caused by lack of user- and patient context. More on the subject of context can be read in the paragraph on context factors, later on.
Because CDSS are offering more and more options characterization of the CDSS itself is not enough. Characterization of the clinical rules used by decision tree CDSS is also key to understand the background of alert fatigue. In the upcoming paragraphs the taxonomy of clinical rules is explained using two fundamental concepts, being triggers and context factors.