The progress of studies by this team of researchers concerning computerized physician order entry (POE), beginning with a mail survey and moving to qualitative multi-center studies, is reviewed, with emphases on lessons learned and future directions. While mail surveys were appropriate to answer initial research questions about diffusion of POE in the U.S., multiple qualitative methods became the methods of choice for answering more complex questions. Results of the latter include articulation of multiple perspectives on both positive and negative aspects of POE and a description of what may be important for successful implementation of POE in the future. The present economic environment of hospitals may be inhibiting widespread diffusion of POE, not only because of the direct cost, but also indirectly by affecting relations with practitioners. Analysis of successful past implementations can provide guidance when the time is right.