, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 596-602
Date: 25 Jun 2009

Impact of a computerized physician order entry system on compliance with prescription accuracy requirements

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Objective To assess the change in non-compliant items in prescription orders following the implementation of a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system named PreDiMed. Setting The department of internal medicine (39 and 38 beds) in two regional hospitals in Canton Vaud, Switzerland. Method The prescription lines in 100 pre- and 100 post-implementation patients’ files were classified according to three modes of administration (medicines for oral or other non-parenteral uses; medicines administered parenterally or via nasogastric tube; pro re nata (PRN), as needed) and analyzed for a number of relevant variables constitutive of medical prescriptions. Main outcome measure The monitored variables depended on the pharmaceutical category and included mainly name of medicine, pharmaceutical form, posology and route of administration, diluting solution, flow rate and identification of prescriber. Results In 2,099 prescription lines, the total number of non-compliant items was 2,265 before CPOE implementation, or 1.079 non-compliant items per line. Two-thirds of these were due to missing information, and the remaining third to incomplete information. In 2,074 prescription lines post-CPOE implementation, the number of non-compliant items had decreased to 221, or 0.107 non-compliant item per line, a dramatic 10-fold decrease (χ2 = 4615; P < 10−6). Limitations of the computerized system were the risk for erroneous items in some non-prefilled fields and ambiguity due to a field with doses shown on commercial products. Conclusion The deployment of PreDiMed in two departments of internal medicine has led to a major improvement in formal aspects of physicians’ prescriptions. Some limitations of the first version of PreDiMed were unveiled and are being corrected.