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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Children's rolls out computerized drug ordering

Doctors at Children's Hospital Boston began this weekend prescribing medications by computer, and nurses are entering into the system when they give the drugs to patients, replacing paper records.

Lab results and pharmacy information were computerized in an earlier effort, along with other documentation from doctors and nurses.

nigrin100.bmp"The whole project is centered around creating an integrated electronic clinical information system, but this is probably the biggest in terms of how our clinicians act in the hospital," Dr. Daniel Nigrin (left), the hospital's chief information officer, said yesterday.

Nigrin, who conceded he hasn't gotten a lot of sleep since Saturday, said the transition has been smooth after months of training on CHAMPS, which stands for Children's Hospital Applications Maximizing Patient Safety. Thirty hours into the process, there were a peak of 1,300 staffers connected and working through the system.

On patient units, nurses can enter information at the nursing station or on bedside computers on wheels (known by the acronym COWs). Information on patients will be available to providers wherever they are, instead of just on the unit where the patient is.

Trained "superusers," dressed in blue shirts, will be available on units for the next couple of weeks to lend support, he said.

Nigrin said such a program is hardly unique to Children's, but the young patients they care for have more complex needs than adults when it comes to safety checks for administering drugs, an important part of order-entry systems.

"Medication dosing in children can be a very exact science," he said. "We deal with teeny 1-pound babies as well as hulking 18-year-old football players, so for that range of patient population we need to be very precise."

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 04:46 PM
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