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CPOE may be tied to lower mortality: study


By Maureen McKinney
Posted: May 3, 2010 - 12:01 am ET
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Use of computerized physician order-entry systems can correlate with significant drops in hospital mortality rates, according to results of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

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In a joint collaboration, researchers from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford University School of Medicine, both based in Palo Alto, Calif., reviewed nearly 100,000 patient discharges from the hospital from January 2001 through April 2009. In the 18 months following the hospitals' implementation of CPOE in 2007, there were two fewer deaths per 1,000 discharges, or a 20% decrease in mortality, according to the study.

The results come at a time when reports of CPOE's effects on quality and safety are varied, and some hospitals worry there may not be much of a return.

The researchers, led by Christopher Longhurst, medical director of clinical informatics at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Stanford, acknowledged that the results, while encouraging, did not demonstrate a causal link.

“Our implementation of CPOE was executed superbly, but in addition, we were simultaneously making other advances in patient care,” Longhurst said in a news release. “These included process and workflow changes, adjustments in ICU staffing, the rollout of rapid response teams, the implementation of a nursing residency and more, all in the face of rising acuity in the hospital.”

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