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SJCH Becomes the First Hospital in Kern Count To Go Live with CPOE


San Joaquin Community Hospital (SJCH) is the first hospital in Kern County to go live with computerized physician order entry, also known as CPOE. At its core, CPOE is a simple concept: Instead of transcribing medication orders and care instructions by hand, physicians now have the ability to enter electronic orders for hospitalized patients under their care. After being entered, the orders are automatically forwarded to hospital departments – such as the pharmacy – for fulfillment. Although CPOE is a major culture change for any health care organization, it is a necessary one in order to continue to improve patient care. The benefits of CPOE include:

  • Faster order completion.
  • Reduced errors through misinterpreted handwriting or transcription.
  • The ability for physicians to provide care instructions remotely.
  • Automatic error-checking for duplicate or incomplete medication doses or tests.
  • Helps the hospital meet criteria for the “meaningful use” component of the Affordable Care Act.

As cited above, one of the major benefits of CPOE is eliminating errors in patient care by misinterpreted handwriting. According to a 2007 Time article, sloppy handwriting kills more than 7,000 people in the United States each year. An additional 1.5 million are seriously injured. Considering that more than 3 billion prescriptions are written each year, the percentage of mistakes is very low. However, with modern technology, such mistakes can be done away with altogether. Dr. Cary Shakespeare, chief of staff at SJCH, is excited about how CPOE will improve the quality of care at SJCH.

“No one can debate that implementing CPOE is the right thing to do for our patients,” Shakespeare said. “Every day at hospitals throughout the country, there are hundreds of physician orders that require clarification because a nurse simply couldn’t read the doctor’s handwriting. By providing our doctors with a system to enter their orders electronically, we’ve created an environment that is more efficient for our staff and much safer for our patients.” 

Since opening a new patient tower in 2007, SJCH has been the local leader in bringing new and innovative health care services and programs to Bakersfield, including: Kern County’s first certified stroke center, first full treatment burn center, and coming soon, the first comprehensive, hospital-based cancer center. CPOE is just the latest example of how the hospital has continued to make every effort to create a facility that provides the key services our community needs, in an environment that is safe, comfortable and driven by compassion. 

“Over the past few years, the hospital leadership has done a great job improving the perception of the hospital in the medical community,” Shakespeare said. “With the implementation of CPOE, SJCH continues to find ways to prioritize the well-being of our patients. I’m very proud that SJCH is once again the first to bring something new to Bakersfield.”