Computerized Physician Order Entry Fact Sheet

First Consulting Group


This is archived content; for historical reference only.

This fact sheet, published in 2000, provides an overview of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems, which allow physicians to electronically enter patient orders for diagnostic and treatment services, such as medications, lab work, and other tests. CPOE systems go well beyond replacing paper orders with electronic ones — they make relevant information available at the time of ordering and apply rules-based logic to help physicians make optimal ordering decisions.

Much interest in CPOE is focused on its potential to reduce medication errors, the largest single cause of medical errors in hospitals. Additionally, CPOE has been shown to reduce costs through avoided adverse events, reduced utilization, and shorter lengths of stay. It also reduces variations in care by encouraging recommended care practices.