The Effect of Physicians' Long-term Use of CPOE on Their Test Management Work Practices

Joanne L. Callen*, Johanna I. Westbrook, Jeffrey Braithwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore physicians' work practices in relation to their long-term use of a computerized physician order entry system (CPOE). Design: A cross-sectional qualitative study was conducted in four clinical units in two large Australian teaching hospitals. One hospital had used CPOE for over 10 years to order all clinical laboratory and radiology tests and view test results and the other had used the computerized viewing facility of the system for over seven years with tests ordered manually. Data were collected by non-participatory observations of physicians (55 sessions) and 28 interviews. Measurements: Content analysis of the observation field notes, reflections on observations and interview transcripts were conducted by two researchers independently. A thematic grounded theory approach was used to derive key themes that would explain physicians work practices associated with CPOE use. Results: Three themes relating to physicians' established use of CPOE were identified: (1) the effect of the hospital and clinical environment; (2) changes to work practices; and (3) physicians' management of information. Physicians' test management work practices using CPOE were related to diversity between: the hospitals; the clinical units' environment, and the users of the system. Conclusion: Hospitals need to understand and analyze physicians' test management work practices prior to and during the implementation of CPOE to accommodate their diverse ways of working with computerized information systems. In the current mixed media environment, physicians' use of manual and computerized information systems for sourcing and recording information impacts on efficiency and patient safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-652
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


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