Improving medication safety in a paediatric hospital: a mixed-methods evaluation of a newly implemented computerised provider order entry system

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Computerised provider order entry (CPOE) systems have been implemented around the world as a solution to reduce ordering and transcription errors. However, previous literature documented many challenges to attain this goal, especially in paediatric settings. The objectives of this study were to (1) analyse the impact of a paediatric CPOE system on medication safety and (2) suggest potential error prevention strategies.


A pre-post observational study was conducted at the pilot ward (n=60 beds) of a paediatric academic health centre through mixed methods. The implementation project and medication management workflows were described through active participation to the project management team, observation, discussions and analysis of related documents. Furthermore, using incident reports, the nature of each error and error rate was compared between the preperiod and postperiod.


The global error rate was lower, but non-statistically significant, in the post implementation phase, which was mostly driven by a significant reduction in errors during order acknowledgement, transmission and transcription. Few errors occurred at the prescription step, and most errors occurred during medication administration. Furthermore, some errors could have been prevented using a CPOE in the pre-implementation period, and the CPOE led to few technology-related errors.

Discussion and conclusion

This study identified both intended and unintended effects of CPOE adoption through the entire medication management workflow. This study revealed the importance of simplifying the acknowledgement, transmission and transcribing steps through the implementation of a CPOE to reduce medication errors. Improving the usability of the electronic medication administration record could help further improve medication safety.

Liang, M. Q., Thibault, M., Jouvet, P., Lebel, D., Schuster, T., Moreault, M.-P., Motulsky, A.

Liang, M. Q., Thibault, M., Jouvet, P., Lebel, D., Schuster, T., Moreault, M.-P., Motulsky, A.

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