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Physicians now placing orders electronically at OMC

CPOE to make patient care more safe, efficient

Ozarks Medical Center is using technology to improve patient safety and make care more efficient by adopting an electronic order system for physicians.

The system is called Care Provider Order Entry or CPOE.

"Rather than writing by hand medication prescriptions, testing orders and care instructions, physicians now have the ability to enter electronic orders for hospitalized patients in their care," said Dr. Kathryn Egly, Medical Director of the OMC Emergency Department and part of the OMC CPOE physician team. "This eliminates hand writing errors and makes the process more efficient because there is no delay in communication between the physician and other departments or nursing staff."

Once a physician makes the order, it is then sent to the correct hospital department to be fulfilled. For example, medication orders are sent to pharmacy and x-ray orders sent to radiology.

According to the OMC Information Technology (IT) Applications Department, there are many benefits to the use of CPOE. The computerized process includes a real-time medication interaction and allergy check that alerts providers of potential patient safety issues. The system also gives providers the ability to use clinical decision support to confirm that the orders they are placing are consistent with patient safety and quality measures and regulations. In addition to these benefits, the new system eliminates hand writing or legibility issues seen in hand written notes.

"By eliminating the questions regarding handwriting that can't be read or is unclear, we've created an environment that is more efficient for our staff and much safer for our patients" Dr. Egly said.

The providers enter the orders and they are automatically sent to the appropriate department or person, meaning the potential for action to be taken is immediate.

"One doctor ordered an EKG for a patient and was still at the same computer working when the test results were handed to him," Dr. Egly said.

According to OMC's IT Department, changing to CPOE has been a long process requiring many months of work to implement and weeks of training in order to switch to an electronic system for the thousands of orders placed each week at OMC. In the first 13 days alone, providers electronically placed 12,419 orders.

"Introducing CPOE is a major change for our providers but an important one that will greatly benefit our patients," Dr. Egly said. "Our physicians and providers have done an amazing job adapting to the new system with the assistance of our information technology support team. They have been very pleased to see the efficiency created by CPOE and are eager to best serve the patients of OMC."

"Our goal is to provide exceptional care for each patient, each time," said Tom Keller, OMC President and CEO. "Computerized orders are the latest example of how OMC is making every effort to create a safe and comfortable environment for our patients and provide efficient care. We appreciate the dedication of the OMC team including physicians, providers and IT staff who have worked very hard to make implement this technology."

For more information about OMC, call 417-257-6735.

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