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J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Apr;23(4):451-8. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0504-5.

The effect of computerized physician order entry with clinical decision support on the rates of adverse drug events: a systematic review.

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  • 1Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit, Baycrest Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) with clinical decision support (CDS) has been promoted as an effective strategy to prevent the development of a drug injury defined as an adverse drug event (ADE).


To systematically review studies evaluating the effects of CPOE with CDS on the development of an ADE as an outcome measure.


PUBMED versions of MEDLINE (from inception through March 2007) were searched to identify relevant studies. Reference lists of included studies were also searched.


We searched for original investigations, randomized and nonrandomized clinical trials, and observational studies that evaluated the effect of CPOE with CDS on the rates of ADEs. The studies identified were assessed to determine the type of computer system used, drug categories being evaluated, types of ADEs measured, and clinical outcomes assessed.


Of the 543 citations identified, 10 studies met our inclusion criteria. These studies were grouped into categories based on their setting: hospital or ambulatory; no studies related to the long-term care setting were identified. CPOE with CDS contributed to a statistically significant (P < or = .05) decrease in ADEs in 5 (50.0%) of the 10 studies. Four studies (40.0%) reported a nonstatistically significant reduction in ADE rates, and 1 study (10.0%) demonstrated no change in ADE rates.


Few studies have measured the effect of CPOE with CDS on the rates of ADEs, and none were randomized controlled trials. Further research is needed to evaluate the efficacy of CPOE with CDS across the various clinical settings.

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