Computerized Provider Order Entry: Reduce medication errors with a CPOE system of structured orders and medication checks.

Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)

Computerized Provider Order Entry reduces medication errors with a system of structured orders and medication checks.


Move Toward Meaningful Use

Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) can dramatically reduce serious medication errors. However, to maximize clinician adoption, it’s important to select a solution that works the way hospital clinicians work—allowing them to save time, manage information, and improve patient care.

With CPOE systems, medical practitioners enter instructions for patient treatment electronically. These orders are communicated over the network to medical staff or departments—including pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology—that are responsible for fulfilling the order.

Stethoscope iconCPOE is also a Meaningful Use criterion for ambulatory EHRs. Physicians must show that at least 80% of their orders that “leave the clinic”—medications/prescriptions, lab test orders, radiology/imaging orders, and referrals—are captured electronically. When ambulatory CPOE is tied in with recipient systems so that when a patient goes to the lab for a blood test, for example, they already have the order on file, the benefits are obvious.


Say Goodbye to Ambiguity

Directly entering orders into a computer minimizes the ambiguity of handwritten orders. In fact, CPOE reduces delays in completing orders and errors related to handwriting or transcription. It enables order entry at point of care or even offsite, provides error-checking for duplicate or incorrect doses or tests, and simplifies inventory and posting of charges.

However, an even greater benefit is seen when CPOE is combined with tools that support critical decision-making and automate processes for accuracy and safety. Enterprise clinical platforms that incorporate Electronic Health Records (EHRs), CPOE, and electronic medication administration can streamline processes, dramatically advance safety and accuracy, and have the added benefit of coordinating care across locations and departments.

An integrated EHR that connects clinicians and administrators with shared patient information and workflow also helps move a healthcare facility toward "meaningful use" to comply with ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) requirements.

Tips to Get Up and Running

CPOE is encouraged as a key solution to reduce medical errors and improve health care quality and efficiency. However, it has a reputation for being difficult to implement successfully. Here are a few tips to smooth the way.

The most important CPOE consideration is that it shouldn't take extra time to use. Users like seamless access to different systems through CPOE, and they want CPOE to be integrated into their workflow.

Get Buy-in for Success

CPOE adoption requires commitment at the highest levels of the organization. Opinion leaders who are respected clinical experts, and are enthusiastic about the system and staff who speak the language of medicine and technology are critical. Because multiple clinical disciplines and IT and administrative groups are involved, a common vocabulary is needed.

If clinicians are highly motivated because they want decision support capabilities available through CPOE, the likelihood of success is greater. However, emergency room personnel may feel CPOE is inappropriate in acute situations. Such factors must be analyzed prior to implementation discussions to assess barriers.

Although decision support is considered a positive, too many alerts can aggravate providers. How many alerts will they tolerate before beginning to ignore them? How important is it to link decision support to evidence from literature?

CPOE is an ongoing effort that benefits from continuous improvement, so it’s important to include mechanisms for feedback and modification.

Where to Start?

Our Clinical Device Assessment helps facilities move through the stages of EHR meaningful use. We also offer services that can optimize network, server, and storage efficiency while addressing security and patient privacy regulations. For more information, complete this Information Request Form, or contact your Account Manager at 1-800-395-8685.

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