The implementation of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) in a healthcare facility requires more than just assembling and installing the right equipment. There is a lot of planning involved especially when it comes to how to optimize CPOE system.
The transition to a computerized physician order entry system requires commitment from everyone in the organization, from administrators to clinicians to patients. Healthcare organizations that have installed computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems have learned this lesson well.
Among the lessons learned is that CPOE is not a magic bullet that will improve patient care. Organizations should map and analyze their existing workflows, which can then be optimized to take advantage of the benefits that CPOE brings to a healthcare organization.
How to optimize CPOE system: Start with the Goal
In order to improve patient safety and reduce medication errors and hospital-acquired infections, hospitals should focus on the ultimate goal of delivering high-quality care. The design of computerized physician order entry systems should eliminate unnecessary steps, such as requiring physicians to enter orders in multiple places.
Healthcare practices are complicated, and efficient workflow redesign requires the consideration of how to best align technology with organizational structures, physical layout, flow of information within the organization, patterns of information usage, and needs of CPOE users. The step-by-step guide below outlines how to optimize CPOE system in a medical facility.
Step 1: Check current business processes.
Begin by identifying existing descriptions of the healthcare organization’s workflows or processes. These can be found in clinical practice guidelines, training manuals, and clinical documentation systems. Ask clinician volunteers who are willing to be watched while they work and document the real processes being used.
Step 2: Improve the processes.
Research the guidelines, best practices, and standards of your organization and industry. An idealized workflow must be created by comparing the current work processes with those of industry-standard processes. Then, identify the gaps between them and devise plans to bridge the gaps. Finally, the updated workflow should be mapped to ensure that users interact with the system in a logical manner.
Step 3: Consider patient care in the process.
In an effort to improve patient care, some healthcare organizations have shifted their focus away from mapping clinical processes and toward mapping the patient’s journey through those processes. In this approach, the clinical team works together to reach a goal and identify areas that need improvement from the patient’s perspective.
A patient’s journey through the healthcare system includes a series of linked steps, tasks, or actions. To map out a patient process, start with a specific process from the perspective of the patient—for example, the ordering of an MRI by a physician and its subsequent explanation to the patient.
Step 4: Test the system thoroughly before rolling it out.
Before implementing a revised work process to optimize the CPOE system, test it to identify problems and fix them. This saves time and money, as well as users’ goodwill if the system has flaws. The knowledge gained can also be applied to other processes.
Identify a single patient record to use for testing, or recruit one clinician from a single department or clinic. Once processes have been proven to work, they can be scaled up. Repeat this process until all processes are validated and refined.
Conclusion on how to optimize CPOE system
Lack of understanding of the full vision and scope of the project can even limit computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system’s scope and result in failure. Hence, healthcare organizations are advised to hire experienced CPOE consultants to help develop a realistic plan for the transition.