Government, Health Care Industry Should Share Cost of Physician Order Entry Systems with Hospitals
Government agencies, employers and health insurers should help hospitals cover the cost of computerized physician order entry systems -- which can reduce medical errors and improve quality of care -- and fund additional research on CPOE benefits and implementation strategies, according to a report published in the July/August issue of Health Affairs. The Leapfrog Group, a coalition of more than 90 large health care purchasers, and the state of California both have advocated CPOE systems in hospitals, but many facilities cannot implement the systems "unless insurers or patients selectively choose hospitals and physicians based on [CPOE] use," the report said. According to the report, government funds and recommendations for CPOE implementation, as well as the use of "differential" reimbursement rates from health insurers that favor CPOE users, also could prompt more hospitals to implement the systems. In addition, the report said that government agencies, such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should coordinate and fund research on the impact and implementation of CPOE systems, and private organizations, such as the American Medical Informatics Association and other professional groups, could increase CPOE implementation through the development of guidelines and standards for CPOE use. However, without a "coordinated plan to encourage CPOE adoption and evaluate its impact, adoption of [CPOE] technology by hospitals and physicians will continue to be slow," the report concluded (Doolan/Bates, "Computerized Physician Order Entry Systems in Hospitals: Mandates and Incentives," Health Affairs, July/August 2002). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.