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Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Computer Physician Order Entry

September 20, 2012

New technology is helping both patients and healthcare providers in Charlottesville. In this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise report, the hospital is unveiling a new computer system that will make ordering medication and lab work for patients more efficient and much safer.

It’s called Computer Physician Order Entry and it will replace the paper order entry forms. It allows doctors and other health care providers to order medication, lab work, and more on a computer.

“You've heard all the stories about physicians hand writing. So, what this does now is they select it on the computer and therefore you don't have any issues with legibility or any issues with not being able to understand what the physician is ordering,” said Marijo Lecker, V.P. of Information Technology, Martha Jefferson Hospital.

“It increases efficiency too. If there aren't more middlemen in between the doctor and the patient then things go faster,” Dr. Duncan Hill, Chief Medical Information Officer, Martha Jefferson Hospital.

The system also has built in alerts to help keep patients safe.

“So, if I order penicillin for a patient who has a penicillin the past that order would go to the pharmacy and hopefully the pharmacy would notice that the patient was penicillin allergic and they would call me. Now that we've gone live with Computer Physician Order Entry, I get a pop up when I try to enter penicillin. It says hey your patient is penicillin allergic,” said Hill.

With any technology, some people may be concerned about the possibility of the system going down. Health care providers say they have a backup plan.

“We actually have a computer at every single nursing station so that if the system goes down a physician or a nurse can go to that computer to actually see results for patients that are on the unit.

With Computer Physician Order Entry, doctors say they will be able to meet their patients’ needs much quicker because ordering medicines and test will only be a click away.

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