Computerized physician order-entry systems adopted by hospitals are failing to catch serious drug interactions and medication errors because they arent being implemented properly or customized to fit specific needs, according to a Leapfrog Group assessment of systems at about 100 hospitals. For instance, between 10% and 20% of simulated allergy interactions were missed by hospitals using CPOE, and some hospitals failed to catch a fatal medication order in the simulation, according to the Leapfrog Group.
We were frankly disappointed, said Leah Binder, chief executive officer of Leapfrog. There were a number of problems. While only about 6% to 8% of hospitals nationwide have CPOE systems, Leapfrog estimates that if deployed and used properly they can reduce medication errors by between 50% and 100%. But it has to be customized to a particular hospital environment, Binder said, adding that the evaluation tool indicated that isnt happening yet.
Leapfrog wont release individual hospital scores this year, but will in 2009, Binder said. Because the findings were so worrisome, the healthcare quality improvement group is issuing a cautionary statement about CPOE implementation. In addition, Leapfrog is forming a national CPOE executive consortium composed of systems developers and hospital leaders to tackle implementation issues. -- by Rebecca Vesely