ElectronicHealthcare 2(3) August 2003 : 36-42

Computerized Physician Order Entry and Communication: Reciprocal Impacts

Richard Dykstra


Participant observation, focus group and oral history techniques were used to collect data from four distinctly different sites across the United States. Data were examined initially to identify success factors for computerized physician order entry (CPOE) implementation. These data, reexamined for communication issues, revealed significant impacts on communication channels and relationships unanticipated by the implementers. Effects on physician-nurse interactions, pharmacy roles, and patient communications that vary by time and location were noted. The importance of robust bidirectional information channels between administration and staff was demonstrated to be potentially "mission-critical." The recommendation for implementers is "Plan to be surprised." Careful planning and pre-work are important, but no matter how much an institution prepares for the upheaval of CPOE, unforeseen consequences are inevitable. The presence of a prepared and capable implementation support group is essential.



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