NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — A new electronic data program is making patient care safer at Great Plains Regional Medical Center.
The Computerized Physician Order Entry system was launched in the emergency department Nov. 28. Officials hope to implement it throughout the rest of the hospital by June.
“The ED is testing the program because we're a small, controlled unit,” said Dr. Jim Smith, emergency department medical director. “Everything is running smoothly so far.”
Using a computer, physicians can type in the specific ailment a patient has and instantly receive treatment instructions.
“Previously doctors had to go off memory for certain diagnoses,” said Mark Clark, chief information officer. “This makes care faster, more efficient and more accountable. The faster decision making can be done, the better patient care will be.”
Smith said some doctors don't like the “cookbook method,” but he said those in his department have been thankful for it.
The system lets doctors know when a test or lab work is finished. It also eliminates a paper trail for prescribing antibiotics. Physicians can now enter a patient's prescription into the computer rather than giving a note to a nurse.
“By decreasing the number of times an order changes hands, there's less room for error,” Smith said.
Clark said the computerized system also eliminates fighting over patient charts. Anyone who needs a chart can get access it at any time.
“It doesn't make my doctors' jobs any easier, because they're inputting the data themselves,” Smith said, but “it's safer. It's the right thing to do.”