J Am Med Inform Assoc 18:730-731 doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000579
  • Editorial

Computerized provider-order entry: challenges, achievements, and opportunities

  1. Kevin Johnson
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kevin Johnson, Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University, 2209 Garland Avenue, Nashville, TN 37232, USA; kevin.johnson{at}
  • Accepted 1 September 2011

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘traction’ as the adhesive friction of a body on a surface on which it moves.1 Within the field of biomedical informatics, we have updated that definition so that the ‘body’ may refer to a technological advance, and the ‘surface’ to a person, group, or environment in which the technological advance has been introduced. In this context, traction implies not just adoption, but adherence, or the ‘state of steady or faithful attachment’.

By any measure, the past 5 years has witnessed the attainment of traction by computerized provider order entry (CPOE). Certainly, the work undertaken by the Institute of Medicine to position CPOE as the most critical component of a safe decision-making environment,2–5 leading to the eventual mandates for CPOE as a part of certified health information technology,6 justifies this assertion. The early efforts of informatics researchers such as McDonald,7 Miller et al,8 Geissbuhler and Miller9 and Warner et al,10 …

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