Nearly all U.S. healthcare providers now use CPOE and EHRs. A survey published in 2017 in a health system pharmacy journal revealed that about 95.6 percent of hospitals used CPOE with clinical decision support.

CPOE – computerized physician order entry – has improved patient safety and other healthcare aspects in the last decade and a half. Some of the major benefits of CPOE include:

  • Cost savings
  • The efficiency of healthcare delivery
  • Lower medication errors

However, some issues still occur while using CPOE due to improper use of drop-down lists, poor workflow design, alert fatigue, and inadequate communication between physicians and patients about their current medication list.

Below, we’ll look at five strategies clinicians can use to improve patient safety while making medication orders with their EHR systems.

1. Use a Patient Picture

It is possible to reduce patient mismatch errors by putting a picture of the patient on each medical chart screen. This tactic may need some tweaking of the initial interface design, but it is worth the effort. Adding a photo to each screen helps the physician check that they are working on the correct record and patient documentation.

2. Work With Standardized Drug Names

In e-prescribing, most drug names have been standardized to avoid confusion. Using standard drug names helps patients know the medication they are receiving.

It’s important to note that there are still drug manufacturing organizations that use diverse terms to describe medication. That is why EHR vendors, providers, and custom interface developers need to standardize terminology and adopt best practices for displaying drug information.

3. Use Scripts to Populate Drop-down Lists

Each interface for CPOE can have more advanced features to reduce the number of items in each list or populate the list based on predetermined criteria. This will reduce the need to scroll through a lengthy patient or medication list and reduce the likelihood of errors. These lists should, however, be modified with care since clinical decision support features work with them.

4. Display a Pre-confirmation Review Screen

Create a screen that ensures users check what they have selected before sending the order. During the review process, the physician can check the patient’s diagnoses and double-check the drugs chosen to treat each condition. Taking extra care to verify information will reduce the possibility of making medication order errors.

5. Create Order Retract Capabilities

When an error is detected early, the system should allow providers to retract an order before it gets to the pharmacy. This corrective feature can be a life and resource saver. Apart from improving patient safety, it will reduce the cost of human resources and the time spent to retrieve and correct the order.

Medication safety is a big concern among providers and patients. EHR vendors and developers can use this list of suggestions to improve the workflow design and reduce drug errors.

Contact Lifepoint Informatics for More Advice on CPOE and Patient Safety

If you need more professional advice to create or modify an efficient CPOE system, please contact Lifepoint Informatics today. Give us a call at 877.522.8378 to schedule a free consultation or a demo of our CPOE solutions.