Predicting inpatient pharmacy order interventions using provider action data

Martina Balestra, Ji Chen, Eduardo Iturrate, Yindalon Aphinyanaphongs, Oded Nov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The widespread deployment of electronic health records (EHRs) has introduced new sources of error and inefficiencies to the process of ordering medications in the hospital setting. Existing work identifies orders that require pharmacy intervention by comparing them to a patient's medical records. In this work, we develop a machine learning model for identifying medication orders requiring intervention using only provider behavior and other contextual features that may reflect these new sources of inefficiencies. Materials and Methods: Data on providers' actions in the EHR system and pharmacy orders were collected over a 2-week period in a major metropolitan hospital system. A classification model was then built to identify orders requiring pharmacist intervention. We tune the model to the context in which it would be deployed and evaluate global and local feature importance. Results: The resultant model had an area under the receiver-operator characteristic curve of 0.91 and an area under the precision-recall curve of 0.44. Conclusions: Providers' actions can serve as useful predictors in identifying medication orders that require pharmacy intervention. Careful model tuning for the clinical context in which the model is deployed can help to create an effective tool for improving health outcomes without using sensitive patient data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberooab083
JournalJAMIA Open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • electronic health records
  • machine learning
  • medical order entry systems
  • prescribing errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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