OHSU system aims to link proper end-of-life care to EHRs

As a replacement for their old method, which was error-ridden and involved making notes by hand before transferring them to an electronic registry, physicians in Oregon are now using a digital system to ensure patients receive the end-of-life medical care they want.

Portland, Ore.-based Oregon Health & Science University developed the new digital system, called Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, to enable physicians and caregivers to quickly identify a patient’s wishes and carry out treatment accordingly. 

Nearly 20 percent of end-of-life directive forms were not immediately entered into the electronic registry while the previous system was in place and some never made it in at all, according to Susan Tolle, MD, director of OHSU's Center for Ethics in Health Care.

"And even if we get it corrected, it might not have been corrected soon enough for the patient,” . “Speed matters. Accuracy matters.”

The POLST program was developed by OHSU and Vynca, a Silicon Valley tech startup. As of now, the program is only being used at OHSU, but is expected to be leased to other hospitals where it can be tailored to work with their respective EHR systems.

More articles on health IT: 

VA to test new EHR system
Could HealthCare.gov's data warehouse be the target of the next big breach?: 5 things to know

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