CPOE alerts help Stanford curb blood use

Electronic health record alerts have helped providers at Stanford Hospital & Clinic to significantly cut back on the use of blood products over the last four years, according to an article published this week by Stanford Medicine's Scope blog.

Between 2009 and 2012, Stanford Hospital examined use of a computerized physician order entry alert system within its EHR that required doctors to validate any requests for blood use. That led to a 24 percent drop in the use of red blood cells over that time period. What's more, transfusions of blood products across the board declined from more than 60,000 in 2009 to less than 49,000 in 2012.

According to Lawrence Goodnough, M.D., a professor of pathology and hematology at Stanford, the EHR alert is helping to reverse a "national trend toward overutilization" while "motivating … a more restrictive blood practice."

Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine in April found CPOE alerts to be a successful method for curbing unnecessary CT scan use. According to the study's authors, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston was able to reduce CT scan use over a five-month period in 2010 by 1.7 percent.

Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in April found that cost reminders via CPOE systems at Johns Hopkins Hospital also led to a reduction in medical tests ordered.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association in February, meanwhile, found that electronic prescribing through computerized physician order entry averted 17.4 million medication errors in the U.S. in a single year.

To learn more:
- read the Scope blog post

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