This article appears in the November 2013 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
A key requirement in stage 1 of meaningful use was that providers employ computerized physician order entry for at least 30% of medication orders entered by any licensed healthcare professional who can enter orders into the medical record per state, local, and professional guidelines.
Now that more than 80% of eligible hospitals have received reimbursement for adopting electronic medical record technology, CPOE has gone mainstream. It is also in some ways just the beginning of a journey that takes the accumulated wisdom of a healthcare provider and codes it into decision-support systems that, over time, make CPOE smarter.
"We've got much higher CPOE adoption than we had three or four years ago," says Bill Spooner, senior vice president and chief information officer of Sharp HealthCare, a not-for-profit regional healthcare system based in San Diego with 1,735 licensed beds at four acute care hospitals.
Providers such as Spooner observe that some of the productivity-enhancing technology that fuels CPOE is the same technology that gets criticized as potentially illegal shortcuts for providers.
In September 2012, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to the American Hospital Association and other industry groups, stating that "false documentation of care is not just bad patient care, it's illegal … a patient's care information must be verified individually to ensure accuracy; it cannot be cut and pasted from a different record of the patient."