CPOEs Can Decrease Mortality Rates, Research Shows

Cynthia Johnson, for HealthLeaders Media , December 9, 2010

CPOE is a journey, not a destination
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society standards indicate that LPCH is a Stage 6 hospital, meaning that the hospital enters nearly all of its orders electronically. Prescribers such as physicians and nurse practitioners enter about 97% of all the orders, says Longhurst.

Clinicians enter the other 3% of orders, which get transcribed into the system as verbal orders that have been given over the phone or during an operation.

Widen says the hospital will soon be at 100% CPOE compliance. It has a cardiovascular ICU that will go live with CPOE this month and an ICU that hasn't started using it yet. The hospital decided that units with the highest acuity levels would receive the system last.

Looking back, Widen says LPCH saw the CPOE implementation as a work flow redesign supported by health IT. He says the implementation was less about technology and more about redesigning processes and work flows to be smarter and more efficient.

"We invested in as much process redesign and change management as we did in technology on this project," he explains.

Now that LPCH is almost fully electronic, the hospital is looking at other opportunities to leverage its data. In the future, Longhurst says it will focus on the following three key areas:

1.  Leveraging analytics: Making better use of data in real time.
2.  Empowering patients: Making data available to patients to allow them to participate in their care process. For example, LPCH is partnering with Google to allow patients to download their child's healthcare data from the hospital to Google Health, where they can organize, track, monitor, and act on the information.
3.  Conducting research: Conducting groundbreaking research to develop better predictive algorithms.

"I think that a good lesson learned for other sites is that implementing the EMR is not a destination, it's a journey," says Longhurst. "The first conversion event is just the beginning of that journey. We're constantly trying to optimize our system to help deliver better outcomes in patient care."

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