CPOE drives quick care improvement for hospital system

Adventist Health System put into operation computerized physician order entry (CPOE) at all 26 of its hospitals in just 28 months, according to a recent Computerworld article, and the organization already is seeing a return on its multi-million dollar investment. 

The health system reports an 11 percent reduction in length of stay, a 16 percent drop in costs for heart failure patients, and a 95 percent reduction in call backs to physicians from pharmacists to clarify orders. Turnaround time for X-rays and lab tests also has decreased.

According to Adventist's website, CPOE systems help hospitals though:

  • Prompts, which warn against potential drug interactions, allergic reactions and overdose;
  • Accurate, current information, which helps physicians keep up with new drugs;
  • Drug-specific information, which eliminates confusion among drug names that sound alike.

Adventist, which has locations in nine states in the South and Southwest, attributes its success in part to early communication and education for administrators, executives and clinicians.

"We really saw CPOE as a change management opportunity more so than an IT project. So we did a lot of education on the front end," Dr. Phil Smith, chief medical information officer for Adventist, tells Computerworld. "We wanted [clinicians] to understand where CPOE helps and where it's been over touted and where there have been problems...and how we engineered them out."

The implementation team worked at each site with "super users," and stayed about a month after each one went live. The project took four months at each hospital.   

In the first nine months of 2011, the system transmitted 13.2 million electronic orders and more than 9 million notes. It also sent more than 400,000 clinical decision support alerts to physicians, who changed roughly 10 out of every 14 orders as a result of alerts. 

To learn more:
- read this Computerworld article
- check out this related announcement