CPOE alerts help to reduce unnecessary CT scans

Computerized physician order entry with decision-support alerts can help to curb unnecessary CT scans, according to new research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

According to the study, conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, researchers entered all CT orders initiated in the hospital's CPOE system from Jan. 1, 2010 through May 31, 2010, that had results displaying an intravenous contrast risk questionnaire when they were entered. A duplicate decision support (DDS) alert told the ordering provider about a potentially redundant CT, with radiology reports and images. After getting the alert, the user could then proceed with, cancel or abandon the order.

The researchers found there to be a net cancelation of 1.7 percent of all CT orders placed during the study period.

"Given the large number of CT studies performed in the United States, even small reductions in unnecessary duplication could prove beneficial," they said.

According to another JAMA Internal Medicine study published this month, cost reminders via CPOE systems have lead to fewer test orders--a 9 percent reduction, to be exactThe study compared the number of tests ordered over six months when the CPOE system at Johns Hopkins Hospital displayed the cost of 61 tests to a six-month baseline when costs were not presented.

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 study abstract

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