Verbal medical order errors reduced to zero, according to new Cincinnati Children's study

April 29, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO-- Hospitals have spent millions of dollars on computerized physician order entry systems to reduce medical errors, but a simple change in the way verbal orders are entered in the system -- so simple that it cost nothing to implement -- has reduced errors to zero, according to a new Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study.

"By simply having the resident read back the order before he or she entered it into the computer, we reduced verbal order errors from 9.1 percent to zero," says Michael Vossmeyer, M.D., a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's and the study's main author. "Although this was a small study, these results are very encouraging."

The study will be presented at 5:15 p.m. Pacific time Saturday, April 29, at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in San Francisco.

At Cincinnati Children's, rounds are conducted inside patients' rooms to make care more family-centered, and orders are entered into the computer system right at the bedside. The attending physician or chief resident verbally communicates the order and a resident physician enters it into the system.

For the study, the team on rounds took 70 consecutive orders. After rounds, they examined the orders for errors. They discovered errors in 9.1 percent of all orders. Most of the errors were in dosages that would not have affected safety. In two instances, however, the intern wrote down the wrong drug.

Dr. Vossmeyer and his research colleagues instituted a process of order read back: Before leaving a patient's room, the resident reads back the order entered to verify its accuracy. The attending physician or chief resident then verifies its accuracy. After instituting this process, the researchers examined 75 orders for errors. There were none. Moreover, the process added only seconds to each visit to a patient's room, so it did not slow down the process of physician rounding.

"We're doing a follow-up study to determine if the results are sustainable and the process is reliable," says Dr. Vossmeyer, "but they appear to be very generalizable. That's particularly important for tertiary patients, such as children with organ transplants, where proper doses mean so much."

The study was conducted on a general, acute pediatric inpatient unit. Cincinnati Children's is now spreading the read back process to family-centered rounds throughout the organization.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is a 475-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to transforming the way health care is delivered by providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. Cincinnati Children's ranks third nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is a teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health. Additional information can be found at

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Related Computer Articles from Brightsurf:

UCLA computer scientists set benchmarks to optimize quantum computer performance
Two UCLA computer scientists have shown that existing compilers, which tell quantum computers how to use their circuits to execute quantum programs, inhibit the computers' ability to achieve optimal performance.

Digitize your dog into a computer game
Researchers from CAMERA at the University of Bath have developed motion capture technology that enables you to digitise your dog without a motion capture suit and using only one camera.

Stabilizing brain-computer interfaces
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) have published research in Nature Biomedical Engineering that will drastically improve brain-computer interfaces and their ability to remain stabilized during use, greatly reducing or potentially eliminating the need to recalibrate these devices during or between experiments.

Computer-generated genomes
Professor Beat Christen, ETH Zurich to speak in the AAAS 2020 session, 'Synthetic Biology: Digital Design of Living Systems.' Christen will describe how computational algorithms paired with chemical DNA synthesis enable digital manufacturing of biological systems up to the size of entire microbial genomes.

Computer-based weather forecast: New algorithm outperforms mainframe computer systems
The exponential growth in computer processing power seen over the past 60 years may soon come to a halt.

A computer that understands how you feel
Neuroscientists have developed a brain-inspired computer system that can look at an image and determine what emotion it evokes in people.

Computer program looks five minutes into the future
Scientists from the University of Bonn have developed software that can look minutes into the future: The program learns the typical sequence of actions, such as cooking, from video sequences.

Computer redesigns enzyme
University of Groningen biotechnologists used a computational method to redesign aspartase and convert it to a catalyst for asymmetric hydroamination reactions.

Mining for gold with a computer
Engineers from Texas A&M University and Virginia Tech report important new insights into nanoporous gold -- a material with growing applications in several areas, including energy storage and biomedical devices -- all without stepping into a lab.

Teaching quantum physics to a computer
An international collaboration led by ETH physicists has used machine learning to teach a computer how to predict the outcomes of quantum experiments.

Read More: Computer News and Computer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to