Beginning in 2012 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts will require all physicians and hospitals participating in its quality incentive program to implement and utilize computerized physician order-entry, or CPOE, systems instead of paper patient charts when requesting tests, drugs and other forms of treatment.
The new requirement, announced Thursday, aims to improve patient safety and care, streamline workflow and reduce costs by eliminating hospital-based medication and treatment errors and slow receipt of necessary patient records, according to a news release.
The insurer's decision was based largely on the success of the Massachusetts Hospital CPOE Initiative, which was launched in 2005. Developed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and New England Healthcare Institute, the initiative helps hospitals in the state set up and launch CPOE systems. Currently, 64 hospitals are participating in the CPOE initiative, and, as a result, are expected to save the state an estimated $170 million in annual healthcare costs, according to Massachusetts Blues spokesman Chris Murphy.
"What we think is the benefit is so clear and hospitals are looking to implement (CPOE systems), so we just see our program as another incentive for them to accomplish the task by 2012," Murphy said.