The growing focus on patient safety has resulted in the increasing adoption of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems in healthcare delivery organizations. The systems have proven to be a powerful tool to support clinicians and promote the safer use of medications.

In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about computerized provider order entry in the healthcare organizations:

What is computerized provider order entry (CPOE)?

Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) is computer software that lets doctors use a computer rather than paper, fax, or telephone to enter medical orders electronically in hospitals and ambulatory care settings. These systems can allow providers to enter medication orders as well as laboratory, admission, radiology and referral orders. When configured correctly, CPOE systems can markedly increase efficiency and patient safety.

Essentially, the entry of new orders, the advanced drug ordering and administration capabilities of CPOE are intended to reduce human error and improve patient safety by better use of information technology.

History of CPOE

Lockheed Martin developed the first CPOE system in 1971, in Mountain View, California’s El Camino Hospital. Physicians could quickly order medications by clicking a few buttons on the computerized medication-ordering system. The system, however, was still at a primitive stage and provided little clinical decision support.

The late 1990s saw a revolution in hospital technology as new, more efficient systems were introduced. A decrease in costs due to advances in the development and enhanced computer literacy among medical professionals led CPOE’s value to rise throughout this decade.

Features of a computerized provider order entry system

A good CPOE system should offer several features:

  • Medical Ordering: Physicians can electronically enter orders into a workstation, laptop or secure mobile device rather than writing them on paper charts.
  • Patient-centered: The process should allow clinicians to use patient information, as well as their full medical record, to make more informed decisions that will benefit the patient.
  • Patient safety features: It enables healthcare professionals to identify patients by name in real-time, review dosage recommendations for medications and check for possible drug interactions. It also screens for possible allergies and treatment conflicts.
  • Compliant to the standard: A system of access controls and information management policies ensures compliance with different state as well as federal healthcare guidelines.
  • Versatility: The CPOE system accommodates orders from other departments using a variety of devices, including mobile phones, laptops and even tablets.

Benefits of CPOE

Computerized provider order entry can provide several benefits to a healthcare organization. These include:

  • Improve patient care by reducing errors: CPOE technology features decision support tools that can help ensure that providers generate accurate and complete orders. These tools can also automatically check for potential conflicts like drug interactions, or medication allergies.
  • Improve efficiency: Healthcare providers can submit prescriptions electronically, which can help the organization get medications and other orders to pharmacies, laboratories, and radiology facilities in a speedy manner. This reduces transcription errors, simplifies order management, and increases satisfaction among providers and staff members.
  • Improve process of insurance claims: CPOE can help reduce denied insurance claims by flagging orders that require pre-approval. With CPOE integrated into an electronic practice management system, pre-approvals can be checked electronically, reducing denials and saving time.

Challenges of CPOE

However, there are a few pitfalls related to implementation issues that can detract from the anticipated benefits.

  • The Need for Training: To reduce errors with new computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems, it is important for health care providers to educate themselves and their staff the on proper use of the system. New users must also be trained on how to use the system, and feedback from both users and non-users must be elicited and addressed in order to achieve the greatest benefit from CPOE systems.
  • Alert Fatigue: This is another common problem faced by users of CPOE. Alert fatigue happens when a user experienced an excessive number of alerts, such as visual or audible messages, causing the user to become desensitized.

Work With a Specialist to Develop Your Computerized Provider Order Entry System

Contact Lifepoint Informatics today at 877.522.8378 to discuss your CPOE implementation needs. Visit our contact page now to schedule a free consultation.