The 1999 Institute of Medicine report raised public awareness of the frequency and cost of adverse drug events in medicine. In response, in November 2000 a coalition of healthcare purchasers announced the formation of the Leapfrog Group, an organization dedicated to making “great leaps forward” in the safety and quality of health care in America. Their first target—computerized physician order entry (CPOE)—was selected specifically for its potential to reduce harm to patients from medications. The Leapfrog inpatient CPOE standard included a requirement that the organization operating CPOE should demonstrate via a test that their inpatient CPOE system can alert physicians to at least 50% of common serious prescribing errors. This paper outlines the development of this test which evaluates the ability of implemented CPOE systems to prevent the occurrence of medication errors that have a high likelihood of leading to adverse drug events. A framework was developed to include 12 different categories of CPOE based decision support that could prevent prescribing errors leading to adverse drug events. A scoring system was developed based on the known frequency and severity of adverse drug events. Simulated test patients and accompanying simulated test medication orders were developed to evaluate the ability of a CPOE system to intercept prescribing errors in all 12 decision support categories. The test was validated at a number of inpatient sites using both commercially available and custom developed CPOE systems. A web based application was developed to allow hospitals to self‐administer the evaluation.
Keywords: Leapfrog, computerized physician order entry, adverse drug events, clinical decision support, certification