The Leapfrog Group, a Washington-based healthcare quality organization formed by large employers, has issued a report urging hospitals and information technology vendors to take a closer look at computerized physician order-entry systems to make sure they are detecting potential errors.
In the study that served as the basis for the report, 214 hospitals evaluated their CPOE systems using a Web-based simulation tool from Leapfrog. The simulations, which involved 10 test patients and 50 medication orders, took place between June 2008 and January 2010. More than half of the total medication orders processed in adult hospitals did not trigger the warnings they should have, according to the report. And among 311 potentially fatal medication orders processed in adult hospitals, only 32.8% prompted a warning.
“Although this is a simulation using fictitious patients and medication orders, it should be a red flag for every hospital and information technology company in America,” Leah Binder, Leapfrog's CEO, said in a news release. “The belief that simply buying and installing health information technology will automatically lead to safer and better care is a myth.”
Leapfrog used the findings to press for a “testing and monitoring component for all technology” to be included in meaningful-use requirements. The group also called for a freer exchange of IT best practices among hospitals and further adoption of CPOE.