Purpose: Computerised physician order entry (CPOE) systems hold the promise of significant improvements to health care delivery and patient care. The implementation of such systems is costly and complex. The purpose of this paper is to review current evidence of the impact of CPOE on hospital pathology services.
Methods: This paper presents a review of the literature (1990-August 2004) about CPOE systems and identifies indicators for measuring the impact of CPOE on pathology services.
Results: Nineteen studies which contained some form of 'control' group, were identified. They featured a variety of designs including randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental and before and after studies. We categorised these into three groups: studies comparing pathology CPOE systems (with no decision support) to paper systems; pathology CPOE systems (with decision support) to paper systems; and pathology CPOE systems with specific pathology features compared to systems without those features. We identified 10 areas of impact assessment and 39 indicators used to measure the impact of CPOE on different stages of the pathology test ordering and reporting process.
Conclusion: We conclude that while some data suggest that CPOE systems are beneficial for clinical and laboratory work processes, these data are limited, and further research is needed. Few data are available regarding the impact of CPOE on patient outcomes.