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Report: CPOE Misses Can Be Fatal

May 1, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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A new report from The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit healthcare improvement organization, says advancements in health information technologies, such as computerized medication prescribing systems, have the potential to inadvertently result in harm to patients. Leah Binder, CEO of The Leapfrog Group said, this remains a major challenge for hospitals and technology companies.

This conclusion comes two years after 214 hospitals used Leapfrog's web-based simulation tool to test the ability of their computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system to catch common medication errors, including errors that could lead to fatalities. According to Leapfrog, these hospitals found their systems on average missed half of the routine medication orders and a third of the potentially fatal orders.

A similar test was conducted over the last nine months of 2011 by 253 hospitals, the missed routine medication orders dropped to slightly more than a third and the fatal orders plummeted to just over one percent.

"This is the kind of improvement that shows what persistent monitoring and adjustment of these systems can achieve, and the hospitals that participate in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey and took the test deserve real credit," Binder said in a statement. "But hospitals and technology companies haven't finished the job. When CPOE is implemented the right way and hospitals and vendors follow up to monitor and improve it, the result is what every patient hopes for when their life is at stake: the perfect harmony of caregiver and technology working for them.”

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