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New Technology Increases Patient Safety

NORMAN - Norman Regional Health System is using new technology to increase patient safety and streamline the way medical care is provided.

Computerized Provider Order Entry or CPOE is a clinical application that allows health care providers to electronically enter instructions for the treatment of patients such as lab tests, medications, clinical procedures and more. It augments more traditional methods of placing medication orders such as written, verbal and faxed orders.

Norman Regional has begun the first phase of implementing CPOE with five physicians. Another group of physicians will begin using the program in July. After these first two groups are online, general enrollment in the CPOE program will begin in the fall.

A benefit of using this computerized system is the patient safety element. CPOE helps eliminate errors, particularly around medication ordering, Dr. Brian Yeaman said.

“Physician handwriting can be difficult to read and may not fax well to a pharmacy leading to phone calls or missed entry of the correct dosing,” Yeaman said. “Frequent transposition of numbers in reading orders versus typing the number can occur. CPOE makes this process much safer for patients. This has been proven in many studies.”

CPOE also is able to perform drug and allergy checking which helps a physician identify any issues upfront and before the pharmacy begins processing an order. Yeaman said this leads to a reduction in adverse events and fewer phone calls between physicians, nurses and the pharmacy to address potential issues.

Will patients see any changes with this new system? CPOE is the first steps towards electronic medication reconciliation and electronic prescribing of home and discharge medications, Yeaman said.

“This will lead to a smoother transition for the patient to discharge, one less piece of paper they can lose. Frequently the prescriptions are ready when they reach the pharmacy and they have much less waiting to get home medications on their way home from the hospital,” Yeaman said.

Patients may see this new change as early as spring 2011.

In addition to the benefits for physicians and patients, CPOE also stands to help the Health System. Norman Regional could obtain about nine million dollars in federal stimulus funds for having 10 percent of orders completed via CPOE by next July, Yeaman said.

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Contact Kelly Wells
Norman Regional Health System

Office (405) 307.2143
Fax (405) 307.2144
Email NRHS_Corporate_Communications@nrh-ok.com