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An iForm is an interactive electronic orderset, used in McKesson’s Horizon Expert Orders application. It consists of a custom .html file and a custom .vgr file, which offers clinicians a better interface for entering orders. As long as there is an existing order built, it can be pulled into the iForm.

The .html format allows for orders to be selected using checkboxes and dropdown lists, along with free text wherever needed, as comments. The .vgr file allows for the variables to be pre-populated, “behind the scene” to reduce clicks, or interactively selected, to offer .Patient data including weight and demographics can be displayed. With the right system conditions, the latest LAB results can be displayed on the form, as well a trend graph of specific results.

McKesson cites a hospital being able to make better decisions and reduce the amount of blood transfusions by using iForms that track the hemoglobin results of patients.[1] With Stage 1 Meaningful Use requiring over 30% CPOE compliance (the percentage increases for Stage 2) user-friendly order entry options should be available, as resources permit. iForms can provide physicians with a graphical user interface and provide useful patient information at the point of order entry.

Because it is .html, formatting such as tables, fonts and colors can be customized, and .gif files can be added for a hospital facility’s logo. This can be visually more appealing, and intuitively easier to use, than McKesson’s text-based list of orders, called outlines. Headings and blank spaces can be added, orders can be linked so that one click places several orders, or orders and the prompts can be pre-selected so that there is still a minimum of clicks. iForms can take longer to build, depending on the flexibility and functionality desired.

A study was conducted at Duke University Medical Center, where iForms were preferred for initial user satisfaction by 70%. However, users did not want the text-based outlines to replace the iForms. As users became more experienced, they liked the flexibility the outlines provided, for non-standard orders. [2]

Submitted by Jennifer Gabrielle

[1.] Realizing the Full Potential of CPOE to Improve Care By Michael Zia, M.D.Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Quality Management Decatur Memorial Hospital http://www.strategiestoperform.com/volume3_issue4/volume3_issue4_b_decatur.html

[2.] Quantitative and Qualitative Comparison of Text-Based and Graphical User Interfaces for Computerized Provider Order Entry Abstract AMIA 2006 Symposium Proceedings Page - 1041 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1839613/