Information technology (IT) has become indispensable for providing quality healthcare to the patients. 18th Annual HIMSS leadership survey has revealed that IT can play a critical success factor role in reducing preventable medical errors and improving patient safety. 1 In particular, it is apparent that implementation health IT such as electronic medical record (EMR) and computerized practitioner order entry (CPOE) can provide an immensely valuable support in reducing medical errors and improving patient safety.
EMR enables clinical health information that is acquired to various resources to be originated and maintained electronically. Such information may depict status of an individual’s health and the treatment provided to him over the lifetime. EMR is relatively far more efficient and effective than the paper medical record as the primary source of patient information. Dr Anthony Alfieri, president Delaware Cardiovascular Associates, explains the significance of the application of EMR “I feel safe practicing medicine, particularly in this litigious society in which we live.
The EMR and its complete, timely documentation support the delivery of quality care. ”2 On the other hand, CPOE enables physician to efficiently communicate instructions for the treatment of ones patients. It can not only help members of medical staff such as nurses, therapists, pharmacists, and physicians etc. to communicate with the physician through computer network but the network can also be extended to other departments such as pharmacy or laboratory etc.
CPOE has made it possible to efficiently complete an order, to prevent medical errors due to illegibility of the order of prescription. It provides an error-checking system for inaccurate doses or tests, and over or under usage of medicines. A study has revealed that CPOE implemented at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center significantly reduces the time it takes to obtain radiology films on patients in the pediatric intensive care unit and to receive verbal results from the radiologist.
The system enable provision of complete, unambiguous, safe and legible orders and enable clinic staff to make informed decisions during the ordering process efficiently preventing medical errors and ensuring patient safety. 3 References 1. www. himss. org/2007Survey/healthcareCIO_final. asp 2. http://www. medi-smart. com/newtech. htm 3. http://www. cincinnatichildrens. org/about/news/release/2003/1-coe. htm