Medication administration quality and health information technology: a national study of US hospitals

J Am Med Inform Assoc. May-Jun 2012;19(3):360-7. doi: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000289. Epub 2011 Oct 28.


Objective: To determine whether the use of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and electronic medication administration records (eMAR) is associated with better quality of medication administration at medium-to-large acute-care hospitals. DATA/STUDY SETTING: A retrospective cross-sectional analysis of data from three sources: CPOE/eMAR usage from HIMSS Analytics (2010), medication quality scores from CMS Hospital Compare (2010), and hospital characteristics from CMS Acute Inpatient Prospective Payment System (2009). The analysis focused on 11 quality indicators (January-December 2009) at 2603 medium-to-large (≥ 100 beds), non-federal acute-care hospitals measuring proportion of eligible patients given (or prescribed) recommended medications for conditions, including acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia, and surgical care improvement. Using technology adoption by 2008 as reference, hospitals were coded: (1) eMAR-only adopters (n=986); (2) CPOE-only adopters (n=115); and (3) adopters of both technologies (n=804); with non-adopters of both technologies as reference group (n=698). Hospitals were also coded for duration of use in 2-year increments since technology adoption. Hospital characteristics, historical measure-specific patient volume, and propensity scores for technology adoption were used to control for confounding factors. The analysis was performed using a generalized linear model (logit link and binomial family).

Principal findings: Relative to non-adopters of both eMAR and CPOE, the odds of adherence to all measures (except one) were higher by 14-29% for eMAR-only hospitals and by 13-38% for hospitals with both technologies, translating to a marginal increase of 0.4-2.0 percentage points. Further, each additional 2 years of technology use was associated with 6-15% higher odds of compliance on all medication measures for eMAR-only hospitals and users of both technologies.

Conclusions: Implementation and duration of use of health information technologies are associated with improved adherence to medication guidelines at US hospitals. The benefits are evident for adoption of eMAR systems alone and in combination with CPOE.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Therapy, Computer-Assisted*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Medical Order Entry Systems*
  • Medication Systems, Hospital*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • United States