Reduction in medication erros in hospitals due to adoption of computerized provider order entry systems

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Computerized provider order entry has become one of the standard practices that also provides reimbursement from the government. Aside from this known fact, it is one of the main safety features that is incorporated and a major component in almost all EHR systems. This article sets out to "derive a nationally representative estimate of medication error reduction in hospitals attributable to electronic prescribing through computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems." [1]


Medications and errors have always been a priority for patient safety. There has been discussion as to how effective the use of (CPOE) systems really is and to determine if in-fact there is a reduction in errors is a question that many ask. As it currently stands "Institute of Medicine [1], estimates that, on average, hospitalized patients are subject to at least one medication error per day"[1], and there are recommendations that take place, one of those being to incorporate (CPOE) systems.[1] When conducting studies the main focus is to ascertain the actual effect the system has on patient safety.[1]


This study was conducted in two different phases, the first was determining which hospitals to include in the inclusion criteria. Hospitals that were used in the inclusion criteria were found by using the AHA survey. Once determined if they met inclusion criteria it was found that 4701 hospitals met criteria and were utilized to conduct such study.[1]. Of these hospitals approximately 60.3% participated in responding to the actual survey conducted. Unfortunately there is no easy way of conducting such findings thus the researchers "used meta-analytic random effects techniques to estimate three parameters: medication error rates when CPOE is not used, medication error rates when CPOE is used, and the percentage difference between them."[1]


The findings determined that nationally there are approximately 17.4million medication errors per year avoided due to (CPOE) implementation which translates into 12.5%.[1] This finding alone should encourage other hospitals who have yet to adopt such system to take a look at the lives they maybe saving. Although adopting and implementing may mean spending money, the overall picture would be that the same money they are spending to invest in such key features could possibly be the same money they are spending in reversing the harm that is caused by these same medication errors.


As a nurse I take a personal interest in such statistical findings. I along with many other individuals take our families when crisis arise to the hospital in search of medical attention. Having faith in nurses and doctors to care for families and no such harm would ever be brought to them. The reality though still exists though, that errors can occur and it's made me aware that despite having IT and (CPOE) implementation we must still use caution. I firmly believe now that (CPOE) should be used as aid and not become completely dependent on such systems, we should continue to use our knowledge of medicine and despite having computers still rely on our fundamental basics.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Radley DC, Wasserman MR, Olsho LEW, Shoemaker SJ, Spranca MD, Bradshaw B.(2013) Reduction in medication errors in hospitals due to adoption of computerized provider order entry systems, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 20:470-476,