Building on its previously released report showing that a high-quality ambulatory computerized physician order entry system could prevent 2 million adverse drug events and 130,000 life-threatening conditions and save the U.S. healthcare system $44 billion annually, a year-old think tank is trying to make the case for clinical information technology in simple terms.
"Advanced systems are more cost-effective," says Blackford Middleton, M.D., chairman of the Center for Information Technology Leadership, the Wellesley, Mass., institute he helped establish last year on behalf of Boston-based Partners HealthCare.
"Clearly it's the high road and the right thing to do, but it's such a hard sell in this financial environment," answers Arnold Wagner, M.D., medical informatics chair at Evanston (Ill.) Northwestern Healthcare, a three-hospital system.
"Intermediate and advanced CPOE saves the clinician and makes money the first year (at the U.S. average capitation rate of 11%)," Middleton counters.
In developing an action strategy, CITL in June held perhaps the first national symposium on ambulatory CPOE in conjunction with the summer meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in Chicago.
CITL describes advanced ACPOE as technology that integrates electronic medical records, order entry and clinical decision support to help physicians have all pertinent information available at the point of care.
"Is it the doctor's job to be a rememberer of facts or to be a gatherer of information? I would argue that it's the latter," said conference speaker J. Marc Overhage, M.D., a longtime CPOE champion at Indiana University's Regenstrief Institute for Health Care in Indianapolis.
"People respond a lot better when you remind them when they are in front of the patient," Overhage says.