The ability of computerized provider order entry systems to detect potential medication errors has improved considerably over the past few years, according to a report from the patient safety organization Leapfrog Group, Modern Healthcare reports.
For the report, the Leapfrog Group conducted a simulated test of CPOE systems at 253 hospitals that voluntarily responded to the Leapfrog Hospital Survey during the last three months of 2011.
The report found that in 2011, CPOE systems did not generate an appropriate warning for more than one-third of routine medication orders and slightly more than 1% of potentially fatal medication orders.
The figures are an improvement over Leapfrog Group's previous simulated test of CPOE systems, conducted at 214 hospitals between June 2008 and January 2010. The previous test found that CPOE systems did not generate an appropriate warning for about 50% of routine medication orders and about one-third of potentially fatal drug orders.
The report notes that nearly all of the hospitals included in the first test improved their CPOE performance in the latest simulation (Robeznieks, Modern Healthcare, 4/27).
Comments on Report
Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, said, "This is the kind of improvement that shows what persistent monitoring and adjustment of these [CPOE] systems can achieve" (Terry, FierceHealthIT, 4/27).
However, she noted that using CPOE systems safely without inadvertently harming patients remains a major challenge for health care providers and health IT developers (Modern Healthcare, 4/27).