Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the impact of commercial computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and clinical decision support systems (CDSSs) on medication errors, length of stay (LOS), and mortality in intensive care units (ICUs).
Methods: We searched for English-language literature published between January 2000 and January 2016 using Medline, Embase, and CINAHL. Titles and abstracts of 586 unique citations were screened. Studies were included if they: (1) reported results for an ICU population; (2) evaluated the impact of CPOE or the addition of CDSSs to an existing CPOE system; (3) reported quantitative data on medication errors, ICU LOS, hospital LOS, ICU mortality, and/or hospital mortality; and (4) used a randomized controlled trial or quasi-experimental study design.
Results: Twenty studies met our inclusion criteria. The transition from paper-based ordering to commercial CPOE systems in ICUs was associated with an 85% reduction in medication prescribing error rates and a 12% reduction in ICU mortality rates. Overall meta-analyses of LOS and hospital mortality did not demonstrate a significant change.
Discussion and conclusion: Critical care settings, both adult and pediatric, involve unique complexities, making them vulnerable to medication errors and adverse patient outcomes. The currently limited evidence base requires research that has sufficient statistical power to identify the true effect of CPOE implementation. There is also a critical need to understand the nature of errors arising post-CPOE and how the addition of CDSSs can be used to provide greater benefit to delivering safe and effective patient care.
Keywords: clinical; decision support systems; length of stay; medical order entry systems; medication errors; mortality.
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