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Electronic Expertise

March 21, 2012

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been an early leader in devising support systems to help physicians make the right decisions and deliver high-quality care to patients with cancer and other forms of disease. This quality initiative has been embedded into Vanderbilt’s electronic health data system to keep physicians up to date on the latest medical research.

Vanderbilt informatics researchers developed a computerized physician order entry system called WizOrder, which was later licensed by McKesson Corporation and commercialized as the Horizon Expert Orders system.

The Horizon Expert Orders system, or HEO, provides a built-in quality guide for physicians as they choose treatment options for their patients. When physicians make treatment order entries, the HEO has automatic mechanisms to prevent medications errors, such as incorrect dosages and potential drug interactions.

This electronic decision support tool, which is used in all of the Vanderbilt hospitals and the Emergency Department, also provides clinical decision support to guide patient care and promote the use of evidence-based medicine.

To ensure quality care in outpatient areas like cancer infusion centers, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has adopted the AdminRX program, a bar-coded medication tracking system to help medical caregivers administer the correct medications. The system checks the scanned codes against the electronic medication order and confirms whether it is the drug intended for the patient, in the correct dosage. If anything doesn’t match, an alert appears.

These electronic checks and balances ensure patient safety both in and out of the hospital.

– Dagny Stuart