Gordon Hospital recently became part of an elite four percent of the nation’s hospitals to fully integrate an electronics medical records system known as Computerized Physician order Entry, or CPOE.
According to Pete Weber, president and CEO of Gordon Hospital, the days of handwritten physician and provider orders for all inpatients came to end at 7 a.m. Tuesday, April 20, as the hospital converted to the new computerized system that is designed to drastically reduce medical errors and speed up patient care.
“We are proud to be in this elite four percent,” Weber explained. “This is gratifying for everyone in the Gordon Hospital family and Adventist Health System, because it’s another instance where we’re adopting new technology to make our hospital the best it can be.”
Gordon Hospital leaders and staff members joined leaders from Adventist Health System for a candlelight ceremony at 6 a.m. on Tuesday to pray for God’s blessing on the implementation of CPOE. Gordon Hospital is only the third AHS hospital – among its 37 hospitals – to implement CPOE hospital-wide.
“I’m proud of our employees and the medical staff for their efforts to bring this project to fruition,” Weber added. “But I’m most excited for our patients, because CPOE will help us reduce medical errors and deliver safer, superior care.”
Physicians and providers will now enter their medical orders directly into Gordon Hospital’s electronic medical record system – called iConnect – to eliminate the trail of paper orders and notes that can delay patient care and contribute to medical errors.
“Estimates show between 100,000 and 250,000 patients across the country die each year from medical errors,” according to Dr. Philip Smith, vice president and chief medical information officer for Adventist Health System. “By implementing a full-scale CPOE system, 75 percent of medication errors can be reduced.”
CPOE also offers advantages to the user, added Max Parrott, MD, chief medical officer for Gordon Hospital.
“Just eliminating handwriting alone eliminates errors because there’s less chance of misinterpretation,” Dr. Parrott explained. “But with other systems in place, such as a system to recognize drug interactions or allergy interactions for patients, these errors are reduced even further.”
Gordon Hospital’s Chief Hospitalist, Brent Box, MD, agreed.
“CPOE is also more efficient because there are fewer steps, and fewer steps mean reduction of errors,” Dr. Box explained. “We’re basically removing the middle man between the provider and the patient’s treatment.”
Another important aspect of the new system is the communication improvement between physicians, pharmacists, and clinical staff, which reduces the order turnaround time across the interdisciplinary departments in the hospital, according to Dr. Kshitij (Tij) Saxena, medical director CPOE, who is lead for the project from Adventist Health System Information Systems (AHS-IS) corporate team.
“This system is built around evidence-based medicine, which gives doctors the most up to date information on treatment plans and protocols that may be appropriate for their patients,” Dr. Saxena added. “These order sets have integrated quality measures and regulatory initiatives, which promote adherence to performance standards mandated by regulatory and accreditation agencies.”
Implementation of CPOE was accomplished only through the combined commitment of numerous individuals at Gordon Hospital and Adventist Health. In addition to Weber, leaders at Gordon Hospital who served crucial roles in the project included Sam Huenergardt, chief operating officer; Amy Jordon, chief nursing officer; Cory Reeves, chief financial officer; Jeni Hasselbrack, director of human resources; Dr. Max Parrott, chief medical officer; Dr. Brent Box, chief hospitalist; Justina Carrick, director of clinical informatics; Lori Williams, director of health information management; Chris Mingone, physician liaison; Kathie Hartley, executive assistant to the CEO and CFO; Edith Pickard, clinical informatics administrative assistant; Jackie Phillips, nurse educator; Phil Robbins, patient advocate; and Karen Shaw, marketing coordinator.
Weber said it is only possible for any hospital to adopt CPOE if members of the medical staff are willing to put away their doctor’s pad and pen in favor of typing on a computer keyboard.
“Through their commitment to make a fairly radical change in how they deliver patient orders, our physicians and providers have shown their commitment to doing what’s best for patients and what’s best for Gordon Hospital,” he added. “This is the age of healthcare technology, and our hospital is honored to be a leader with new solutions and new paradigms.”