Leapfrog Group report says without proper monitoring, HIT could negatively affect patients

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Leapfrog Group report says without proper monitoring, HIT could negatively affect patients

A new report released by The Leapfrog Group shows that computer physician order entry (CPOE) systems can potentially miss half of routine medication orders and one-third of potentially fatal medication orders. 

The report is based on a study of 214 hospitals that tested their CPOE systems using a Web-based simulation tool between June 2008 and January 2010. The Leapfrog Group is a quality organization that uses the power of large purchasers to positively affect patient safety and quality in healthcare.

The simulation tool was used to see how often CPOE caught common medication errors. Adult hospitals involved in the study received 10 sample patients and 50 medication orders, and pediatric facilities received 10 sample patients and 51 medication orders. Most of the hospitals that adjusted their protocols and CPOE systems after using the tool improved their performance.

“Although this is a simulation using fictitious patients and medication orders, it should be a red flag for every hospital and information technology company in America,” Leah Binder, MA, MGA, CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said in a news release. “The belief that simply buying and installing health information technology [HIT] will automatically lead to safer and better care is a myth. Hospitals and vendors must continue to work together over time to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of CPOE.”

As a result of this report, The Leapfrog Group called on the federal government to ensure that the definition of “meaningful use” requires that CPOE systems be monitored on a regular basis. Meaningful use refers to a set of requirements regarding HIT that hospitals and physicians must meet to receive incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released its meaningful use requirements in July.

Leapfrog is also urging hospitals and vendors to work more closely in designing CPOE interfaces and incorporating the system into practice. 

The group believes that using CPOE correctly can save lives by catching potential medication errors. It’s asking more hospitals to adopt the use of CPOE, which has been shown to improve patient safety and reduce costs.

All hospitals that voluntarily take part in The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Survey have the opportunity to use the Web-based monitoring tool.  

To view the full report, visit