Last week, Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) was brought up live at WMHS after well over a year of development and testing. CPOE is the ability of clinicians to directly enter medical orders into a computer, greatly reducing the ambiguity of handwritten orders. CPOE is designed to reduce errors and expedite the ordering process. Currently, CPOE is being brought up floor by floor to ensure that we are working out the bugs that may occur. So far and only after a few issues, the implementation is going well.
I don't want to jinx our implementation by blogging about it prematurely, but after the fiasco that is occurring with the Health.gov implementation, our success is worth a mention. Why? Because we did it right. We took the appropriate amount of time to bring it up and we tested the hell out of it before going live. There was a coordinated effort on the part of a multi-disciplinary team led by our Chief Information Officer. We didn't install it and attempt to use it without testing it. We didn't have a half dozen people in charge so if it failed no one was in charge. Leadership was kept informed as to the progress during the implementation, testing and go live. If the system were going to fail, it wouldn't have been brought up.
To put this into perspective, if we would have failed to the extent that Health.gov has failed, there wouldn't be any excuses, finger pointing, denials or blame. Those in charge would have acted to correct the problem and accepted responsibility. Then again, we would have never gotten to the point that Health.gov has gotten to. No one with any sense would bring up a system of that magnitude, significance and criticality without first thoroughly testing it. Go figure.