Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
CEO Minute: CPOE Well Worth The Effort

CEO Minute: CPOE Well Worth The Effort

CEO Minute:  CPOE Well Worth The Effort- image0In 1999, a report came out from the Institute of Medicine titled, “To Err is Human.”  I distinctly remember taking it to my hospital board of directors for discussion.  I believed then, and still do, that it is an important piece of work. The main thesis of the report is there is a serious lack of coordination in health care. Furthermore, this lack of coordination results in errors in the delivery of care, including preventable deaths.

Coordination is the order of the day when one considers that one-quarter of Medicare beneficiaries has five or more chronic conditions, sees 13 physicians each year and fills 50 different prescriptions each year. Or that there are more than 13,000 different drugs sold in the United States that a physician might prescribe.  So, I am proud of Dr. Craig Bradley, Tom Wise, Cari Crooks, Paige Howell, Sam Patton, Rebecca Iffert, RaeAnn Rodriguez, Steph Hoelscherand Sheryl Moore for their work, along with our colleagues at UMC Health System, in getting us ready for Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE). As ofNov. 8, UMC will be utilizing CPOE. Our aforementioned electronic health record team has managed the training process of nearly 500 physicians and other providers. As you can imagine, this has been quite an undertaking and they did it well.

CPOE allows providers to enter medical orders into a computer system and replaces traditional methods of placing medication orders, including written, verbal and fax. The CPOE system in Cerner allows providers to electronically specify medication orders as well as laboratory, admission, radiology, referral and procedure orders. CPOE has a number of potential benefits for patients, payers and providers and is advocated by leading national experts in health care quality and safety.

One of the groups that has pushed for it is Leapfrog, a well-respected organization made up of large employers from throughout the nation. This group believes that if CPOE was implemented in all urban hospitals in the U.S., it would prevent as many as 3 million serious medication errors each year.

While I do not believe CPOE is a panacea, studies have also shown that CPOE reduces length of stay, reduces duplicative tests, reduces turnaround times for laboratory, pharmacy and radiology requests and delivers cost savings.  If only a portion of that is correct — it will be well worth the effort.