Anatomy of a failure: A sociotechnical evaluation of a laboratory physician order entry system implementation

  • Peute L
  • Aarts J
  • Bakker P
 et al. 
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Abstract

Objective: To investigate the human, social and organizational issues surrounding a Computerized Physician Order Entry system for Laboratory ordering (CPOE-L) implementation process and to analyze their interrelated effects on the system implementation failure in an academic medical setting. Second, to provide lessons learned and recommendations on to how to manage challenges of human, social and organizational nature surrounding CPOE-L implementations. Methods: The themes surrounding CPOE introduction were identified by a heuristic analysis of literature on CPOE implementations. The resulting set of themes was applied as a reference model for 20 semi-structured interviews conducted during the CPOE-L implementation process with 11 persons involved in the CPOE-L project and in reviewing all CPOE-L related project documentation. Data was additionally gathered by user questionnaires, by user discussion rounds and through an ethnographical study performed at the involved clinical and laboratory departments. In analyzing the interview transcripts, project documentation and data from user questionnaires and discussion rounds a grounded theory approach was applied by the evaluation team to identify problem areas or issues deserving further analysis. Results: Outlined central problem areas concerning the CPOE-L implementation and their mutual relations were depicted in a conceptual interpretative model. Understanding of clinical workflow was identified as a key theme pressured by organizational, human and social issues ultimately influencing the entire implementation process in a negative way. Vast delays in CPOE introduction, system immaturity and under-functionality could all be directly attributed to a superficial understanding of workflow. Consequently, final CPOE integration into clinical and laboratory workflows was inhibited by both end-users as well as department managers and withdrawal of the CPOE-L system became inevitable. Conclusion: This case study demonstrates which human, social and organizational issues relevant to CPOE implementation cumulatively led to a failure outcome of the CPOE-L pilot introduction. The experiences and considerations described in this paper show important issues for CPOE systems to be successfully introduced and to be taken into account in future CPOE implementations. Understanding and consideration of (clinical) workflow aspects by project managers and the involved clinical organization is of extreme importance from the very start of a CPOE implementation process. © 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • CPOE
  • Computerized Provider Order Entry
  • Human Factor Engineering
  • Qualitative research
  • Success and failure factors

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