Implementation of an integrated computerized prescriber order-entry system for chemotherapy in a multisite safety-net health system.

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American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists


CPOE; chemotherapy; medication error; safety-net hospital; usability; workflow


PURPOSE: The development of a computerized prescriber order-entry (CPOE) system for chemotherapy in a multisite safety-net health system and the challenges to its successful implementation are described.

SUMMARY: Before CPOE for chemotherapy was first implemented and embedded in the electronic medical record system of Harris Health System (HHS), pharmacy personnel relied on regimen-specific preprinted order sets. However, due to differences in practice styles and workflow logistics, the paper orders across the 3 facilities were mostly site specific, with varying clinical content. Many of these order sets had not been approved by the oncology subcommittee. In addition, disparities in clinical knowledge and lack of communication contributed to inconsistencies in order set development. Led by medical directors from medical oncology departments at the 3 facilities, pharmacy administrators, and information technology representatives, HHS committed resources to supporting the adoption and use of a CPOE system for chemotherapy. Five practical lessons of broad applicability have been learned: engagement of interprofessional stakeholders, optimization of workflow before CPOE implementation, requirement of verification tool for CPOE, consolidation of protocols, and commitment to ongoing training and support. Evaluation of the CPOE system demonstrated a systemwide reduction in medication errors by 75% (

CONCLUSION: The development and implementation of CPOE for chemotherapy at a multisite safety-net health system created opportunities to optimize patient care and reduce variations through interprofessional collaborations. Initial evaluation suggested that CPOE reduced the medication-order error rate and improved user satisfaction in 1 of 3 facilities.

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