Thursday, March 10, 2005

Flaws in Use of Computerized Order Entry Could Lead to Errors

While computerized physician order entry (CPOE) is expected to significantly reduce medication errors, systems must be implemented thoughtfully to avoid facilitating certain types of errors, according to a study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and published in the March 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study looks at clinicians’ experience in using one CPOE system at a major urban teaching hospital.

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., said the findings are typical for products early in their implementation. “New health care information technology products usually go through an ongoing process of refinement and improvement as health care workers identify problems,” she said. “Ideally, principles of human factors research, usability testing, and workflow impact should all be considered before products are released into the workplace.”

“While the findings are important, the study focuses on the experience of one hospital and one product and may not be easily applied to industry at large,” Dr. Clancy said. “It means these products are in their early implementation period, and there will be a learning period to improve both these systems and make CPOE function at its best.” She said implementation problems would be minimized through testing before products are marketed, and through adaptation to meet the needs of individual clinical settings.

Physician Order Sheet - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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