Computerized provider order entry adoption: implications for clinical workflow

J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Jan;24(1):21-6. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0857-9. Epub 2008 Nov 20.


Objective: To identify and describe unintended adverse consequences related to clinical workflow when implementing or using computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems.

Methods: We analyzed qualitative data from field observations and formal interviews gathered over a three-year period at five hospitals in three organizations. Five multidisciplinary researchers worked together to identify themes related to the impacts of CPOE systems on clinical workflow.

Results: CPOE systems can affect clinical work by 1) introducing or exposing human/computer interaction problems, 2) altering the pace, sequencing, and dynamics of clinical activities, 3) providing only partial support for the work activities of all types of clinical personnel, 4) reducing clinical situation awareness, and 5) poorly reflecting organizational policy and procedure.

Conclusions: As CPOE systems evolve, those involved must take care to mitigate the many unintended adverse effects these systems have on clinical workflow. Workflow issues resulting from CPOE can be mitigated by iteratively altering both clinical workflow and the CPOE system until a satisfactory fit is achieved.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Delivery of Health Care / trends
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals / trends
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Order Entry Systems / trends*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / trends*
  • Workload*