A similar test was conducted with 214 hospitals between June 2008 and January 2010, which involved 10 test patients and 50 medication orders. In that test, more than half of the medication orders did not trigger the warnings they should have and, of 311 potentially fatal errors, less than one third prompted a warning.
According to the release, nearly all the hospitals involved in that first test improved their performance in the most recent simulation.
“This is the kind of improvement that shows what persistent monitoring and adjustment of these systems can achieve, and the hospitals that participate in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey and took the test deserve real credit," Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder said in the release. “But hospitals and technology companies haven't finished the job. When CPOE is implemented the right way and hospitals and vendors follow up to monitor and improve it, the result is what every patient hopes for when their life is at stake: the perfect harmony of caregiver and technology working for them.”
CPOE implementation is one of four hospital-safety “leaps” the group monitors, and the release noted that using CPOE safely without causing inadvertent harm to patients “remains a major challenge for hospitals and technology companies.”