Recent developments in electronic alerts for acute kidney injury

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Purpose of review

Efforts to improve outcomes from acute kidney injury (AKI) have focussed on timely diagnosis and effective delivery of basic patient care. Electronic alerts (e-alerts) for AKI have attracted interest as a tool to facilitate this. Initial feasibility has already been demonstrated; this review will discuss recent advances in alert methodology, implementation beyond single centres and reported effect on outcomes.

Recent findings

On-going descriptions of e-alerts highlight increasing variation in both detection algorithms and alert processes. In England, this is being addressed by national rollout of a standardized detection algorithm; recent data have shown this to have good diagnostic performance. In critical care, fully automated detection systems incorporating both serum creatinine and urine output criteria have been developed. A recent randomized trial of e-alerts has also been reported, in which isolated use of a text message e-alert did not affect either clinician behaviour or patient outcome.


As e-alerts gain popularity, consideration must be given to both the method of AKI detection and the method by which results are communicated to end-users; these aspects influence the degree of these systems’ effectiveness. This approach should be coupled to further work to study the effect on patient outcomes of those interventions that have been demonstrated to influence clinician behaviour.

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