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J Perinatol. 2004 Feb;24(2):88-93.

Impact of computerized physician order entry on clinical practice in a newborn intensive care unit.

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  • 1Pediatrics and Obstetrics, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



To study the impact of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) on selected neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) practices.


Retrospective review.


Nursing units in an academic health system where CPOE has been implemented in adult services since 2000 and in the NICU since 2002.


Data from 111 very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants born consecutively within 6 months before and 100 VLBW infants born within 6 months after the implementation of CPOE were evaluated. The study is based on pre- and post-CPOE comparisons in medication error rates and on the initiation to completion time intervals for pharmacy orders and radiology procedures. The specific data subsets that were compared included caffeine and gentamicin. Radiology turn-around time (order to image display) for the first chest and abdominal X-ray taken following endotracheal intubation and/or umbilical catheter placement was studied.


Statistically significant (p<0.01) reductions were seen in medication turn-around times for the loading dose of caffeine in pre-CPOE (n=41, mean 10.5+/-9.8 SD hours) and post-CPOE (n=48, mean 2.8+/-3.3 SD hours). After CPOE implementation, the percentage of cases during each period where caffeine was administered before 2 and 3 hours increased from 10 to 35% and 12 to 63%, respectively. Accuracy of gentamicin dose at the time of admission for 105 (pre-CPOE) and 92 (post-CPOE) VLBW infants was determined. In the pre-CPOE period, 5% overdosages, 8% underdosages, and 87% correct dosages were identified. In the post-CPOE, no medication errors occurred. Accuracy of gentamicin dosages during hospitalization at the time of suspected late-onset sepsis for 31 pre- and 28 post-CPOE VLBW infants was studied. Gentamicin dose was calculated incorrectly in two of 31 (6%) pre-CPOE infants. No such errors were noted in the post-CPOE period. Radiology response time decreased significantly from the pre-CPOE (n=107, mean 42+/-12 SD minutes) to post-CPOE (n=95, mean 32+/-16 SD minutes).


The implementation of CPOE in our NICU resulted in a significant reduction in medication turn-around times and medication errors for selected drugs, and a decrease in ancillary service (radiology) response time. In spite of the complexities of medication orders in pediatric populations, commercially available software programs for CPOE can successfully be adjusted to accommodate NICU needs and to beneficially impact clinical practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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