Adoption of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems is the next frontier for many hospitals in the drive for full EMR deployment. CPOE offers many exciting opportunities to improve the quality of care, reduce medication errors and improve efficiency.
Properly implemented, CPOE connects physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other caregivers to streamline care and close the medication loop to improve safety and reduce errors. Patients are no longer at risk from mistakes caused by illegible orders. Clinical decision support tools encourage physicians to manage care within evidence-based guidelines.
Expect a lot of attention on CPOE this year simply because it’s “what’s next” for most hospitals. About 45 percent of U.S. hospitals have achieved Stage 3 (nursing documentation) of the HIMSS Adoption Model. CPOE is the next step in the process. In addition, hospitals are required to get CPOE up and running to qualify for funding under meaningful use guidelines.
In adopting CPOE, most hospitals will be building on a strong foundation having already automated ancillary departments such as lab, pharmacy and radiology; created a clinical data repository; and adopted nursing documentation. Despite these advantages, hospital leaders must recognize that CPOE places new stresses on infrastructure. The best CPOE-driven workflows will struggle if clinicians cannot access essential data, whenever and wherever it is needed.
Here are three fundamental questions to consider in planning your CPOE launch.
Will caregivers have adequate access to the system?
CPOE can streamline care by providing a seamless approval system that links physicians, pharmacists and caregivers. As a result, CPOE slashes the wait time for approvals, and with real-time alerts nurses no longer need to keep logging into the system to see if orders have been approved.
However, this means caregivers must have immediate access to alerts and the EMR system – and that’s why your mobile computing strategy is so important to supporting caregivers in this critical next phase of your deployment. At most facilities, mobile workstations will continue to be the central technology platform supporting an array of devices including smart phones, tablets and wall-mounted computers.
Is your wireless system up to the challenge?
Wireless systems must ensure 100 percent coverage in every area of the hospital where care is delivered – even with the increased demand for bandwidth created by CPOE. Wireless infrastructure has been developed in most facilities over the past few years to support EMR launches. Hospitals will need to leverage this foundation to meet CPOE’s increased demands for access and connectivity at the point of care.
CPOE can streamline care by providing a seamless approval system that links physicians, pharmacists and caregivers.
What is your mobile power strategy?
With increased demands on mobile computing workstations, reliable performance will be more important than ever. Matching the right power systems to the workflows is fundamental to a successful CPOE launch. There are numerous options, including advanced chemistries that offer longer runtime and cycle life as well as swappable systems that eliminate downtime.
It is also a good time to plan ahead. If your hospital has not already adopted BCMA, you will in the next phase of the HIMSS adoption model. BCMA adds additional hardware to workstations that places new demands on power systems.
CPOE adoption creates significant change management challenges for caregivers. Ensuring a reliable infrastructure that includes workstations, wireless systems and mobile power will ease the pain and promote the kind of quality and efficiency improvements that drive buy-in.
Rob Sobie is vice president of healthcare marketing at Metro, a world leader in providing technology, storage and transport solutions for healthcare facilities and other industries