Human beings are prone to make errors and mistakes. It is vital, therefore, to put in place the requisite measures to ensure that these errors are detected early and corrected. Therefore, it is not only desirable, but rather mandatory that all organization adopt a program, which will help it correct mistakes. Hospitals are not an exception. In fact, it should be a mandatory requirement that all physicians and nurses have a computerized entry that will serve to avoid fatal medical mistakes and errors. This paper will analyze the implementation of the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) program in all community hospitals within Massachusetts. Research indicated that sixty percent of all admitted patients in these hospitals suffered preventable medical prescriptions for lack of such a critical program. This paper will examine the impact of the implementation of this program.
Since the program was initiated, the administrators have ensured that all records are computerized and nothing is hard written. This program was initiated because of the need to involve IT in solving medical problems. With increased technological advancement, especially in information technology, it is vital for hospitals to tap into this unique technology. There has been a great challenge in trying to reduce the mortality rate resulting from improper medication. This is when a nurse or clinical officer administers the wrong prescription to a patient. This is usually caused because of a disconnection in communication between the examining doctor and the clinical officer, who administers the medication. Therefore, hospitals have been highly encouraged to adopt the CPOE in order to provide improved medical treatment. To achieve this objective, all hospitals within Massachusetts were fixed with the necessary equipment. Previously, hand written instruction accounted for more than 59% of medical errors. In its first phase of being implemented, 36% of these errors were reduced. This is an extremely significant number considering that the number of patients within this territorial unit is up to millions of people. These computer programs are designed to warn a doctor in case a mistake occurs from the instructions. Alarm would be raised to prevent a situation whereby a patient is given a wrong prescription. The CPOE also seeks solve the adverse effects related to medical conditions that patients might be having. For example, if a patient has allergies in a specific medication; the computer program will raise an alarm to inform the doctor. This means that all the medical history of the patient will be synchronized. It would be extremely detrimental for one who has allergies against drugs with Sulphur being administered with drugs containing the same. This will lead to more complication thus distorting the path to healing. It is worth noting that sometimes this complication can be more disastrous than the disease that was being treated.
The program has been instrumental, so far, in ensuring more than 74% of such errors have been corrected. However, 26% of the cases still go unnoticed. This is a key challenge that should be sorted to avert the obvious adverse consequences. The programs also covered the challenge; drug-to-diagnosis. This problem was also extremely prevalent before its inception. It is vital that a patient is given the correct dose for the diagnosed disease. Failure will lead to more complication and the patient may even develop further complication. This new system has ensured that about 70% of drug-to-diagnosis mistakes are corrected prior to the patient starting the medication. The average mark of 70% is significant considering that more than 48% of patients within Massachusetts were reported to have at one time suffered complication arising from receiving the wrong dose. Such mistakes were causing pediatrics concern over the rising cases of wrong doses. However, there are different varying degrees of results indicated in recent studies among several hospitals. It is vital that pediatrics be educated of the need to be vigilant and careful in discharging their duties. It is has been reported that while in some hospitals there have been an improved rate of up to 80% in detecting these flaws, some hospitals have reported less impressive data of 46%. This cannot only be attributed to negligent practices by physicians. Some physicians may have negligently failed to input the data into the entry system. Others may perhaps have ignored the program’s alarm altogether. Such possibilities are common in hospitals with less staff and a large number of patients that need urgent attention, thus leading to procedural matters being ignored. However, it is crucial to note that such a practice is only acceptable on the face of an emergency with regards to the treatment of that particular patient.
In order to understand the CPOE, it is crucial to examine its core operator, which is referred to as the ‘Simulator’. This system administers less than a six-hour examination. It is supported by an internet connection. The web based technology facilitates hospitals throughout the state to print at least twelve registers of patients at a time. The registers indicate their age, name, medical history, allergy list, any complications encountered that is not medically related and possible outcome on various test administered. This means that the web-based tool provides a one-stop shop for all the necessary and fundamental information that one requires to administer any treatment to a patient. This has been extremely helpful to physician as they all able to determine the ideal treatment for the patient. However, in order to get this information, it is mandatory that a hospital keys in all data from its patients within 36 hours. The EHR system created per hospital is instrumental in realizing that this information in relayed on the main server. When a patient is admitted, a diagnosis is done to determine the ailment. However, the data received from such an examination should not be used in the treatment of this patient before a comparative analysis is carried out with records from the simulator. It is vital to understand that the simulator does not serve to replace the examination of a patient. On the contrary, the simulator is a complimentary check that provides more detailed information about a particular patient. For example, there was a patient who was admitted at one of the hospitals. The physician’s diagnosis revealed that he suffered from fever. However, when a comparative analysis was made with his record from the simulator, it revealed that that patient had been treated previously of Malaria. The records indicated that the patient had contracted Malaria from his recent visit from sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is caused by female Anopheles Mosquito. Whereas their symptoms are almost similar, effective treatment varies significantly. If one treatment is exchanged for the other a patient may suffer severe consequences. Most physicians do not worry much because of these challenges because Malaria was eliminated within the United States. However, it is critical to realize that cases such as the present one can be extremely detrimental to the patient. Doctors should always be keen not to be caught off guard in such a situation.
However, this system program should be distinguished from similar process that seeks to administer drugs to patient. The intention and primarily role of this system is to provide information. Therefore, it cannot be substituted to be used for examination of the patient. Hospital administrators should be vigilant because scrumptious doctors can use the records received from the simulator to administer dosages. The security of a patient’s information is also a key challenge to the program. It is critical to maintain patient confidential even with the use of the simulator. Physicians need special education in order to clearly comprehend how the program works. It is vital to illustrate how several modules of patients’ information are created. There should also be education on the several levels of security checks that have been established to secure the information. The state should enact legislation that compels all doctors to review a patient’s information before prescribing any medication. At the moment, other than conventional medical ethics, a physician has no obligation to look at this crucial data. However, hospital administrators have been instrumental in pushing for these reforms. This is commendable considering how expensive the project has become. Nevertheless, all stakeholders are urged to not only ensure that the program is rolled out country wide, but also that it succeeds.
Smith, B. H. (2010). Problem Solving for Better Health: A Global Perspective. New York: Springer Publishing Company.