5 Steps to Successful CPOE

Gienna Shaw, July 19, 2011

In the 1990s, big bang rollouts of electronic health systems were all the rage. But have you ever heard the phrase "only fools rush in?" Many organizations learned that while that approach got complete systems up and running, it didn't guarantee that clinicians would like them.

So the industry tried a more drawn-out approach, forming vast committees to get buy-in from every last stakeholder. In the end, though, that didn't guarantee adoption, either. In fact, it created new problems, such as alert fatigue.

Today, organizations are finding a balanced approach to launching systems such as computerized physician order entry that lets them get buy-in and get to go-live faster and more efficiently. I spoke to leaders at several organizations in various stages of implementing CPOE for an article in this month's issue of HealthLeaders magazine. They offered the following five steps to successful CPOE:

1. Pare down committee rosters.

When everyone in an organization has a hand in reviewing, revising, and creating order sets, they tend to get a bit complex. And it takes an awful lot of time. Some organizations are trying a decentralized approach to creating order sets. A small, multidisciplinary advance team gets the order sets to about 80% completion and then turns to specialists to finish them up.

2. Get the right people at the table.

Michigan-based MetroHealth system used the decentralized approach, creating a CPEO team that included senior leaders, physicians, nurses, IT staff, and representatives from other departments, such as lab and radiology.

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