STANFORD, Calif. Researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford University School of Medicine have shown for the first time that a significant decrease in hospital-wide mortality rates can be associated with implementation of a computerized physician order entry system.
The system, launched at Packard Children's in 2007, was correlated with a 20 percent decrease in mortality rates at the hospital over an 18-month period, according to a new study to be published online May 3 in Pediatrics. Researchers noted that other patient care initiatives at the hospital may also have contributed to this important change.
With CPOE, doctors and other medical staff can prescribe medications, tests and other treatments electronically, making the instructions instantly and remotely available to all authorized hospital staff, even when off-site. CPOE is part of the hospital's electronic medical record, which also provides on screen the latest images and test results. All physicians need to do is boot up a computer, punch in a password and the heartbeat of a child in the neonatal intensive care unit will trace across the screen, or a brain scan can be viewed.
The study arrives as a debate rages over the benefits of CPOE and electronic medical records. While many proponents, including the Obama administration, see these new technologies as critical to improving the quality of our health-care system, critics contend their value has yet to be proven, particularly as some past research has shown negative consequences, including one site that witnessed an increase in mortality.
"Prior to our report, no hospital or medical institution has shown that CPOE can be implemented and actually have an associated decline in mortality," said lead author Christopher Longhurst, MD, medical director of clinical informatics at Packard Children's and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford. "But what we found is that CPOE impl
|Contact: Robert Dicks|
Stanford University Medical Center