Computerized Physician Order Entry
Cary Medical Center was one of the first rural hospitals in America to adopt Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE). In fact, the hospital was among the top two percent of hospitals in the nation to engage the new technology. With this system, our physicians enter their medication orders into a computer rather than on paper. The order is instantly matched with the patient’s information and automatically checked for potential problems or errors, such as possible drug interactions, allergic reactions, or overdose based on information including the patient’s medical history, prescription data, and laboratory results. Our pharmacists review each order as an added precaution; if the order is appropriate for the patient, the pharmacist automatically approves the dispensing of the medication and communicates this electronically to the patient’s nurse. At Cary Medical Center, the CPOE system is supported by electronic nursing documentation, automated medication dispensing and medication bar coding.
Recent research has shown the CPOE system significantly (over 85% in some cases) reduces the risk of medication errors, reduces length of hospital stay, reduces repeat testing, reduces turnaround times for laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology requests, and delivers cost savings. Researchers predict that if all urban hospitals in the United States implemented CPOE, nearly one million serious medication errors would be prevented every year.