Closing the loop

Healthcare News | 2012-07-30


Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) capability using Siemens’ Soarian® Clinicals health information system has helped WakeMed Health and Hospitals, an 870-bed private, not-for-profit health care system in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, improve quality of care and reduce medication errors.

WakeMed began its CPOE implementation in the pediatric and pediatric intensive care units, where the use of weight-based dosing increases the likelihood of errors associated with manual calculations. The implementation of CPOE capability at WakeMed was preceded by the use of Siemens Pharmacy and its Med Administration Check™ component, which uses barcode technology at the point-of-care to help providers reduce the potential for human error in administering medication.


Standardized medication process

Orders entered electronically at WakeMed flow to the pharmacy for review and validation. The dispensed drugs then go to the nurse, who scans his or her identification badge, the patient’s unique identification bracelet, and then the drug to confirm that the right patient receives the right drug and that the other rights of medication administration are met. The medication order is then displayed in the eMAR (electronic Medication Administration Record) component of Soarian Clinicals, which allows clinicians to view and update the patient’s medication history.

Chief Medical Information Officer Ben Alexander, MD, says the improvement in patient safety after the implementation of Med Administration Check was immediate, with the system helping clinicians prevent a significant number of medication administration errors. The subsequent implementation of CPOE capability further improved safety by virtually eliminating transcription errors.

“The key benefit that we’ve received is having a safe, standardized, closed-loop medication process,” Alexander says. “And the closed-loop nature of it is important, because it ensures that the pharmacy is an integral part of the process.”

Bridget Donell, MD, Pediatric Intensivist and Hospitalist, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Raleigh, Nort

Intuitive and easy to use

WakeMed Pediatric Intensivist and Hospitalist Bridget Donell, MD, pointed out that several other features of Soarian Clinicals support providers’ implementation of patient safety initiatives. For example, the system notifies physicians of patient allergies, drug-drug interactions, and excessive medication doses. Before joining the staff at WakeMed, Donell worked at another hospital that used a third-party program for CPOE. She found Soarian Clinicals to be much more intuitive. Donell notes that she and residents from the nearby University of North Carolina School of Medicine were able to correctly enter orders with minimal training. “We’ve all become more accustomed to technology, and it’s a logical system that’s easy to pick up,” Donell says.

Key Benefits

  • Confirmation with Siemens Med Administration Check that the right patient receives the right medication
  • Physicians notified by Soarian Clinicals of patient allergies, drug-drug interactions, and excessive medication doses
  • Elimination of transcription errors with computerized physician order entry (CPOE) capability
  • Ease of use with minimal training thanks to intuitive interface

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The outcomes achieved by the Siemens customers described herein were achieved in the customer's unique setting. Since there is no “typical“ hospital and many variables exist (e.g., hospital size, case mix, level of IT adoption), there can be no guarantee that others will achieve the same results

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