Sharpening clinical decision support alert and reminder designs with MINDSPACE: A systematic review

Sarang Hashemi, Lu Bai, Shijia Gao, Frada Burstein, Kate Renzenbrink

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Clinical decision support (CDS) alerts and reminders aim to influence clinical decisions, yet they are often designed without considering human decision-making behaviour. While this behaviour is comprehensively described by behavioural economics (BE), the sheer volume of BE literature poses a challenge to designers when identifying behavioural effects with utility to alert and reminder designs. This study tackles this challenge by focusing on the MINDSPACE framework for behaviour change, which collates nine behavioural effects that profoundly influence human decision-making behaviour: Messenger, Incentives, Norms, Defaults, Salience, Priming, Affect, Commitment, and Ego. 

Method: A systematic review searching MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, and CINAHL Plus to explore (i) the usage of MINDSPACE effects in alert and reminder designs and (ii) the efficacy of those alerts and reminders in influencing clinical decisions. The search queries comprised ten Boolean searches, with nine focusing on the MINDSPACE effects and one focusing on the term mindspace. 

Results: 50 studies were selected from 1791 peer-reviewed journal articles in English from 1970 to 2022. Except for ego, eight of nine MINDSPACE effects were utilised to design alerts and reminders, with defaults and norms utilised the most in alerts and reminders, respectively. Overall, alerts and reminders informed by MINDSPACE effects showed an average 71% success rate in influencing clinical decisions (alerts 73%, reminders 69%). Most studies utilised a single effect in their design, with higher efficacy for alerts (64%) than reminders (41%). Others utilised multiple effects, showing higher efficacy for reminders (28%) than alerts (9%). 

Conclusion: This review presents sufficient evidence demonstrating the MINDSPACE framework's merits for designing CDS alerts and reminders with human decision-making considerations. The framework can adequately address challenges in identifying behavioural effects pertinent to the effective design of CDS alerts and reminders. The review also identified opportunities for future research into other relevant effects (e.g., framing).

Original languageEnglish
Article number105276
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Alert
  • Behavioral economics
  • Clinical decision support
  • Human decision-making consideration
  • MINDSPACE framework
  • Reminder

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