Rural emergency departments failing to adopt CPOE systems, says report

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According to the study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, emergency departments (EDs) in rural healthcare facilities were significantly less likely to adopt a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system than hospitals in urban areas.

The report, titled Increasing Adoption of Computerized Provider Order Entry and Persistent Regional Disparities in U.S. Emergency Departments, surveyed a number of hospitals across Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado and Georgia to determine whether the facilities had implemented a CPOE system as part of an existing medical informatics network. The results of the study indicated that only 6 percent of rural emergency departments used CPOE systems, compared to 40 percent of EDs in towns and cities.

Doug Hires, a partner with healthcare IT consultancy firm Santa Rosa Consulting, told Information Week that access to cloud-based clinical informatics technologies could prove to be an important tool for healthcare facilities in remote areas.

“The availability of internet-hosted applications could take some of the operational cost away and make health IT more accessible to an organization that doesn’t have the capital or the staff [to operate the systems itself],” Hires told the news outlet. “I know of one vendor that does point solutions on ED systems, and they’ve done just that in rural areas. They’ve changed their licensing structure for critical access hospitals, and they’ve introduced a cloud-based computing solution.”

CPOE functionality of medical informatics systems is a qualifying criteria of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Meaningful Use financial incentives. Concerns have been raised that due to struggles in finding suitably qualified healthcare IT personnel, rural critical access hospitals are unable to offer patients the same quality of care due to difficulties implementing clinical informatics systems.