Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) is a computer application that allows health care providers to create medical orders electronically in inpatient and ambulatory settings, replacing the more traditional order methods such as writing and transmitting paper-based prescriptions. In a nutshell, the technology helps providers directly enter medical orders into a computer application.
The typical clinical workflow that involves a CPOE system includes the following steps:
- The doctor logs in to the CPOE system if it’s standalone software or in the EHR platform if CPOE is only its module.
- After successful authorization, the doctor starts creating and editing the order for drugs, laboratory tests, etc.
- Then, the order is verified using the data stored in the clinical decision support system, electronic health record software (the medical history), and of course, in the practice management system (the health plan).
- When verification is completed, the order is transmitted to the service or medication provider (in-hospital pharmacy, laboratory, etc.).
- In the end, the order is logged into a patient’s medical history stored in the EHR.
Modern CPOE systems enable far more than just prescription ordering, and clinicians can now use them for all sorts of orders, including consultations, tests, and procedures. Sometimes learning to use a new technology could temporarily impede some clinicians’ workflows and may bring unexpected challenges because not all errors can be averted using CPOE. Still, the early evidence highly supports the benefits of CPOE systems for improving ordering efficiency, reimbursements, and patient safety.
Read more about key benefits, challenges, and how to overcome barriers to successful CPOE implementation on our blog.