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New technology at CTMC eliminates the dreaded doctor's handwriting

090210scrawlAn example of a doctor’s handwritten orders. Images from Central Texas Medical Center.


The days of comedians making jokes about the illegible scrawl of doctors may be numbered, thanks to a medical information technology called Computerized Prescriber Order Entry (CPOE). Last week, Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) became one of the first hospitals in the region to use CPOE, an electronic medical record (EMR) entry system.

Only five percent of hospitals in the United States have currently launched the CPOE, a program which eliminates the need for hand-written orders.

“CPOE eliminates hand-written physician/provider orders,” said Dr. Philip Smith, Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer for Adventist Health System. “The system automatically checks a patient’s medical record and prompts the prescriber about complications and co-existing conditions that may cause an adverse reaction.”

The CPOE process has prescribers directly enter orders, which speeds up the administration of medications and other procedures for patients.

“Having been involved with 16 CPOE Go Live sites to date, I must admit the team at CTMC has been the best prepared I’ve seen to date,” said Smith. “The calmness and enthusiasm through the hospital has been refreshing.”

The CPOE program was initiated with a series of town hall meetings last spring. Efforts to get the system in place was the combined work of CTMC leaders and medical staff, Adventist Health and a group of specially trained CTMC associates known as “‘Super Users.”

Said  CTMC President and CEO Gary Jepson, “We knew CTMC had the ability to make this giant leap, and we knew that CPOE was important to our patient care. We are proud of everyone in the CTMC family and Adventist Health System for their efforts to make CTMC a leader in healthcare technology that furthers our commitment to safer care.”

For more information about CPOE and a slideshow of CTMC’s launch of the computerized system, visit www.ctmc.org.

090210cpoeOrders as they look on the CPOE system.