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Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) (also sometimes referred to as Computerized Provider Order Entry or Computerized Provider Order Management ) is a process of electronic entry of medical practitioner instructions for the treatment of patients (particularly hospitalized patients) under his or her care. These orders are communicated over a computer network to the medical staff or to the departments (pharmacy, laboratory, or radiology) responsible for fulfilling the order. CPOE decreases delay in order completion, reduces errors related to handwriting or transcription, allows order entry at the point of care or off-site, provides error-checking for duplicate or incorrect doses or tests, and simplifies inventory and posting of charges. CPOE is a form of patient management software.
The application responding to, i.e., performing, a request for services (orders) or producing an observation. The filler can also originate requests for services (new orders), add additional services to existing orders, replace existing orders, put an order on hold, discontinue an order, release a held order, or cancel existing orders.
A request for a service from one application to a second application. In some cases an application is allowed to place orders with itself.
One of several segments that can carry order information. Future ancillary specific segments may be defined in subsequent releases of the Standard if they become necessary.
The application or individual originating a request for services (order).
A list of associated orders coming from a single location regarding a single patient.
A grouping of orders used to standardize and expedite the ordering process for a common clinical scenario. (Typically, these orders are started, modified, and stopped by a licensed physician.)
A grouping of orders used to standardize and automate a clinical process on behalf of a physician. (Typically, these orders are started, modified, and stopped by a nurse, pharmacist, or other licensed health professional.)
Features of the ideal computerized physician order entry system (CPOE) include:
In the past, physicians have traditionally hand-written or verbally communicated orders for patient care, which are then transcribed by various individuals (such as unit clerks, nurses, and ancillary staff) before being carried out. Handwritten reports or notes, manual order entry, non-standard abbreviations and poor legibility lead to errors and injuries to patients, according to a 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report. A follow up IOM report in 2001 advised use of electronic medication ordering, with computer- and internet-based information systems to support clinical decisions. Prescribing errors are the largest identified source of preventable hospital medical error. A 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine estimated that a hospitalized patient is exposed to a medication error each day of his or her stay. Studies of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) has yielded evidence that suggests the medication error rate can be reduced by 80%, and errors that have potential for serious harm or death for patients can be reduced by 55%, and other studies have also suggested benefits. Further, in 2005, CMS and CDC released a report that showed only 41 percent of prophylactic antibacterials were correctly stopped within 24 hours of completed surgery. The researchers conducted an analysis over an eight-month period, implementing a CPOE system designed to stop the administration of prophylactic antibacterials. Results showed CPOE significantly improved timely discontinuation of antibacterials from 38.8 percent of surgeries to 55.7 percent in the intervention hospital. CPOE/e-Prescribing systems can provide automatic dosing alerts (for example, letting the user know that the dose is too high and thus dangerous) and interaction checking (for example, telling the user that 2 medicines ordered taken together can cause health problems). In this way, specialists in pharmacy informatics work with the medical and nursing staffs at hospitals to improve the safety and effectiveness of medication use by utilizing CPOE systems.
CPOE presents several possible dangers by introducing new types of errors. Prescriber and staff inexperience may cause slower entry of orders at first, use more staff time, and is slower than person-to-person communication in an emergency situation. Physician to nurse communication can worsen if each group works alone at their workstations. Automation causes a false sense of security, a misconception that when technology suggests a course of action, errors are avoided. These factors contributed to an increased mortality rate in the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Pediatric ICU when a CPOE systems was introduced. In other settings, shortcut or default selections can override non-standard medication regimens for elderly or underweight patients, resulting in toxic doses. Frequent alerts and warnings can interrupt work flow, causing these messages to be ignored or overridden due to alert fatigue. CPOE and automated drug dispensing was identified as a cause of error by 84% of over 500 health care facilities participating in a surveillance system by the United States Pharmacopoeia. Introducing CPOE to a complex medical environment requires ongoing changes in design to cope with unique patients and care settings, close supervision of overrides caused by automatic systems, and training, testing and re-training all users.
CPOE systems can take years to install and configure. Despite ample evidence of the potential to reduce medication errors, adoption of this technology by doctors and hospitals in the United States has been slowed by resistance to changes in physician's practice patterns, costs and training time involved, and concern with interoperability and compliance with future national standards. According to a study by RAND Health, the US healthcare system could save more than 81 billion dollars annually, reduce adverse medical events and improve the quality of care if it were to widely adopt CPOE and other health information technology. As more hospitals become aware of the financial benefits of CPOE, and more physicians with a familiarity with computers enter practice, increased use of CPOE is predicted. Several high profile failures of CPOE implementation have occurred, so a major effort must be focused on change management, including restructuring workflows, dealing with physicians' resistance to change, and creating a collaborative environment.
An early success with CPOE by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture or VistA. A graphical user interface known as the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) allows health care providers to review and update a patient’s record at any computer in the VA's over 1,000 healthcare facilities. CPRS includes the ability to place orders by CPOE, including medications, special procedures, x-rays, patient care nursing orders, diets and laboratory tests.
The world's first successful implementation of a CPOE system was at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California in the early 1970s. The Medical Information System (MIS) was originally developed by a software and hardware team at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California, which became the TMIS group at Technicon Instruments Corporation. The MIS system used a light pen to allow physicians and nurses to quickly point and click items to be ordered.
As of 2005[update], one of the largest projects for a national EHR is by the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. The goal of the NHS is to have 60,000,000 patients with a centralized electronic health record by 2010. The plan involves a gradual roll-out commencing May 2006, providing general practices in England access to the National Programme for IT (NPfIT). The NHS component, known as the "Connecting for Health Programme", includes office-based CPOE for medication prescribing and test ordering and retrieval, although some concerns have been raised about patient safety features.
In 2008, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI) published research showing that 1 in 10 patients admitted to a Massachusetts community hospital suffered a preventable medication error. The study argued that Massachusetts hospitals could prevent 55,000 adverse drug events per year and save $170 million annually if they fully implemented CPOE. The findings prompted the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to enact legislation requiring all hospitals to implement CPOE by 2012 as a condition of licensure.
In addition, the study also concludes that it would cost approximately $2.1 million to implement a CPOE system, and a cost of $435,000 to maintain it in the state of Massachusetts while it saves annually about $2.7 million per hospital. The hospitals will still see payback within 26 months through reducing hospitalizations generated by error. Despite the advantages and cost savings, the CPOE is still not well adapted by many hospitals in the US.
The Leapfrog’s 2008 Survey showed that most hospitals are still not complying with having a fully implemented, effective CPOE system. The CPOE requirement became more challenging to meet in 2008 because the Leapfrog introduced a new requirement: Hospitals must test their CPOE systems with Leapfrog’s CPOE Evaluation Tool. So the number of hospitals in the survey considered to be fully meeting the standard dropped to 7% in 2008 from 11% the previous year. Though the adoption rate seems very low in 2008, it is still an improvement from 2002 when only 2% of hospitals met this Leapfrog standard.