Objective: To describe medical students' attitudes toward placing orders during training, and the effect of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) on their learning experiences. Design: Prospective, controlled study of all 143 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine students who began the Basic Medicine clerkship between March 2003 and April 2004 at one of three teaching hospitals: one using CPOE, one paper orders, and one that began using CPOE midway through this study. Measurements: Survey of students at the start and after the first month of the clerkship. Results: Ninety-six percent of students responded. Students expressed a desire to place 100% of orders for their patients. Ninety-five percent of students believed that placing orders helps students learn what tests and treatments patients need. Eighty-four percent reported that being unavailable due to conferences and teaching sessions was a significant barrier to participating in the ordering process. Students at hospitals using CPOE reported placing significantly fewer of their patients' follow-up orders compared to students at hospitals using paper orders (25% vs. 50%, p < 0.01) and were more likely to report that their resident or intern did not want them to enter orders (40% vs. 16%, p < 0.01). Comparisons of students at hospitals using CPOE to each other showed that these differences were attributable to one of the hospitals. Thirty-two percent of students at both hospitals using CPOE reported that the extra length of time required for housestaff to review their orders in the computer was a significant barrier. Hospitals need to ensure that the educational potential of medical students' clinical experiences is maximized when implementing CPOE.
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