CPOE systems prevent some medication errors, but miss nearly 40%

Many hospitals have boosted their medication error prevention efforts by implementing computerized physician order entry systems, but even these hospitals require clinicians to double- and triple-check orders to truly prevent patient harm, according to a new report from The Leapfrog Group and Castlight Health.

Data included in the study were collected as part of the 2015 Leapfrog Hospital Survey of 1,750 U.S. hospitals. Highlighted below are eight findings from the study.

1. Roughly 39 percent of potentially harmful drug orders weren't flagged by the system to alert staff of potential errors.

2. Thirteen percent of potentially fatal orders failed to trigger an alert by the system. 

3. Nearly all (96 percent) reporting hospitals had a CPOE system, up from 33 percent in 2010.

4. Approximately 64 percent of the hospitals fully met Leapfrog's CPOE standard, meaning the system alerts physicians to at least half of the most common, serious prescribing errors, and at least 75 percent of the hospital's medication orders were placed through a CPOE system.

5. The states with the lowest percentage of hospitals meeting Leapfrog's standard were Indiana (25 percent) and Nevada (35 percent).

6. The states with the most hospitals meeting the standard were Maine (85 percent), Georgia (83 percent) and New York (81 percent).

7. Sixty-two percent of reporting hospitals conduct additional medication reconciliation activities, such as documenting patient medications at admission (98 percent) and sharing updated medication lists with patients and caregivers at discharge (99 percent).

8. That said, not all hospitals have policies in place to ensure adherence to reconciliation activities. For instance, only 84 percent of hospitals hold senior administrative leadership accountable for these processes through their performance review of compensation, and only 88 percent of hospitals allocated staff time or a budget to developing best practices.

"CPOE systems have done a remarkable job in reducing the likelihood of medication errors, but mistakes are still seen with far too much frequency," said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog. "Hospitals spend millions of dollars to implement CPOE systems, but our results clearly show that many hospitals' systems are not operating as well as they should, putting patients' lives at risk."

To access the full "Preventing Medication Errors in Hospitals" report, click here.

 

 

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