For instance, writing a drug order on paper can appear to be a faster process than finding a computer, sitting down, logging on to the system, finding the patient in the menu, opening the patient file, and then entering a drug order. Dr. Rosenbloom points out that when physicians think about these two processes, however, they may not factor in the other time factors for the paper order, such as walking to the chart, finding the chart, turning to the right page, and entering the drug order. And although computer systems are not error-free, CPOE tends to reduce transcription and other errors that in themselves can be time-consuming, if not life threatening, for the patient.
Keys to Success
Sources agreed that IT adoption by physicians increases in direct proportion to their participation in the process. “[Hospitalists and other physicians] need to make sure that their hospital includes physicians in every step of the due diligence process: looking through systems, going to the sales, actually banging on the product, and making sure that they perceive it as meeting their needs,” advises Dr. Rosenbloom.
Vendors differ in their methods for bringing client hospitals online. “A staged approach is probably best, based on what we know currently,” he suggests.
Finally, flexibility is key—for vendors and users. Dr. Rosenbloom advises teams to “expect to fail, and learn from that.” It’s important to recognize, he says, “that even if you’re putting in a computer system that has been implemented in 50% of hospitals—which hasn’t yet happened—there are idiosyncrasies and differences in your own center that will cause the implementation process to be different.”
Given hospitalists’ interest in hospital processes, leading the IT adoption effort is a natural role for hospitalist leaders, believes Richard H. Bailey, MD, medical director of Inpatient Care and Hospitalist Services at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Weston, Wis. “I was one of the most computer illiterate people I knew,” he relates. “But somehow, I got thrown into the role. We took a potential lemon, embraced it early on, and made lemonade.” TH