Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

What are the benefits of CPOE to providers, patients?

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) is one of several features that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) view as crucial to improving healthcare delivery. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that CPOE adoption is a core requirement of meaningful use.

As of the final ruling for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, eligible hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) need to exceed 30 percent CPOE use for unique patients with at least one medication in Stage 1 and more than 60 percent of medication, 30 percent of laboratory, and 30 percent of radiology orders in Stage 2.

Despite its importance for meaningful users, CPOE adoption and use has other important benefits for health systems and hospitals, which demonstrate the significant value of this EHR functionality. In a story appearing today, Helen Thompson, VP and CIO at NCH Healthcare System, described the importance of having physician coaches from Cerner onsite to help her organization’s provider reach the CPOE milestone it had established for them. What she also explained were the benefits that a significant increase in CPOE use among physicians led to.

“With the increase in CPOE, what we’re seeing is a higher degree of visibility into what’s happening with our patients across the continuum of care,” Thompson says. “We’re seeing an increase in physician engagement in the care delivery model and more of a team approach to the healthcare delivery than we had before. Those are the high-level quality measures.”

Although these benefits are important, they are not the only benefits the NCH Healthcare System in Naples, Florida, experienced as a result of boosting its CPOE use from 60-70 percent about a year ago to more than 90 percent today.

“Quantifiably, I can tell you that we have seen a 40-percent drop in the documents that we needed to scan,” Thompson continues. “And that’s huge because every time somebody touches that piece of paper to scan it, that’s expense in the organization. We continue to see that number increase and then that’s a decrease of scanning, so we see that decrease increasing — that’s kind of an odd way to say that.”

As a result of the organization’s success, it will continue to use physician coaches as part of its journey in adopting and optimizing its EHR system and services, which includes getting that CPOE percentage even higher.

“To us, having taken it from somewhere in the high sixties, low seventies to 91 percent, we feel pretty good and we know that our physician coaches are absolutely instrumental in doing that,” she adds. “In fact, we will be taking that concept and replicating it in our staffing model for our hospital going forward.”

Giving that CPOE is an explicitly physician-oriented task, it stands to reason that physicians are most likely to trust other physicians in learning how to use this functionality. This increased adoption, in turn, far-reaching benefits both for their patients, who receive higher-quality care, and their organization, which saves time and resources as paper or hybrid systems are replaced with a streamlined electronic approach.

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