CPOE Systems Can Substantially Reduce Medication Errors

May 1, 2013 | Evaluations & Guidance


A meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Associationfound that using computerized provider order-entry (CPOE) systems to process drug orders can reduce the likelihood of medication errors by 48% compared to using paper-based orders. Given the amount of CPOE use in U.S. hospitals, this translates into a 12.5% yearly reduction in medication errors, or around 17.4 million prevented errors.

Radley et al. aimed to establish a baseline national estimate of medication errors averted through use of CPOE in 2008—before the implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—to help track national progress as CPOE adoption becomes more common. They conducted a literature review and developed supporting statistics about the use of CPOE. The supporting statistics characterize CPOE adoption and implementation, the medication order volume, the number and proportion of medication orders processed through CPOE, the expected medication error rate without CPOE, and the expected reduction in medication error rates because of CPOE. These statistics were then combined with survey data collected by the American Hospital Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to determine the percentage and absolute reduction in medication errors attributable to CPOE use in acute care hospitals in 2008. The study excluded adverse drug events and potential adverse drug events from the...

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