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Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Nov;11(11):1135-41.

Computerized physician order entry and online decision support.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and decision support systems (DSS) can reduce certain types of error but often slow clinicians and may increase other types of error. The net effect of these systems on an emergency department (ED) is unknown. The consensus participants combined published evidence with expert opinion to outline recommendations for success. These include seamless integration of CPOE and DSS into systems and workflow; ensuring access to Internet-based and other online support material in the clinical arena; designing systems specifically for the ED and measuring their impact to ensure an overall benefit; ensuring that CPOE systems provide error and interaction checking and facilitate weight- and physiology-based dosing; using interruptive alerts only for the highest-severity events; providing a simple, vendor-independent interface for institutional customization of CPOE alert thresholds; maximizing the use of automated systems and passive data capture; and ensuring the widespread availability of CPOE and DSS using secure wireless and portable technologies where appropriate. Decisions regarding CPOE and DSS in the ED should be guided by the ED chair or designee. Much of what is believed to be true regarding CPOE and DSS has not been adequately studied. Additional CPOE and DSS research is needed quickly, and this research should receive funding priority. DSS and CPOE hold great promise to improve patient care, but not all systems are equal. Evidence must guide these efforts, and the measured outcomes must consider the many factors of quality care.

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