Computerized Provider Order Entry--what are health professionals concerned about? A qualitative study in an Australian hospital

Int J Med Inform. 2009 Jan;78(1):60-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2008.09.007. Epub 2008 Nov 17.


Purpose: To identify the main concerns of a broad range of hospital staff about the implementation of a new Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system for medication management.

Methods: The study was conducted in a large Australian teaching hospital using semi-structured interviews (n=20) and focus groups (six focus groups involving a total of 30 participants) from a broad section of health professionals including doctors, nurses, managers, pharmacists and senior health executives. Systematic concurrent analysis of the data was undertaken by a team of researchers.

Results: We identified 20 recurrent themes related to nine areas of shared concern including work practices, software/hardware, relationships/communication, education and training, inexperienced staff and de-skilling. A higher level of analysis identified four interrelated constructs that highlight what people are concerned about: (1) Will it help? (2) Will it work? (3) Will we cope? (4) Will it impair existing interaction?

Limitations: The research provides a snapshot overview of perceptions from a range of hospital personnel in the lead up to CPOE implementation. Generalizability is limited by the size of the sample and the contextual circumstances of the hospital being studied.

Discussion: This work contributes valuable evidence about an often-neglected dimension in the evaluation of computer systems in hospitals, namely the pre-implementation concerns of staff. These pre-conceptions can have a significant effect on how technology is implemented and utilised. Acknowledging and addressing people's concerns can contribute to the establishment of durable channels of negotiation and communication. Further research informed by the findings of this study will help advance this process.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Computers
  • Education, Professional
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Hospitals, Teaching*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Medical Order Entry Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nurses
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Pharmacists


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations