Oncology journal puts EMRs, CPOE under the bright lights

The latest issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice offers a treasure-trove of electronic medical record goodies, with articles ranging from the relevance of Meaningful Use to CPOE implementation tips and traps.

Writing about the vital role that EMRs will play in healthcare delivery, Dr. Peter Paul Yu, of the Palo Alto (Calif.) Medical Foundation, points out the many problems plaguing our healthcare system--a fragmented provider base; poor communication among providers and patients; misaligned stakeholder incentives; disparate governance structures and insufficient financial resources.

Nothing short of an entire societal culture shift will save us, he argues. "Although widespread adoption of electronic health records is frequently and correctly cited as necessary to meet the challenge of doing better with less, technology alone will not accomplish this," he writes.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins researchers Allen R. Chen and Christoph U. Lehmann share the key learnings of their CPOE implementation at Johns Hopkins Children's Medical and Surgical Center in Baltimore. While the hospital used a "standard, commercially available CPOE system," Chen and Lehmann describe the painstaking customization that was necessary to address the complexities of pediatric oncology, including the development of 30 medical logic modules and 110 order sets.

Their efforts have paid off. Docs more often submit orders that adhere to specific research protocols and standard order sets. And medication-related patient safety events have decreased by 39 percent. "Acceptance of the system is high in all clinical disciplines," they write. --Read the full Journal issue