CPOE in Iran-A viable prospect? Physicians' opinions on using CPOE in an Iranian teaching hospital
Background: in recent years, the theory that on-line clinical decision support systems can improve patients' safety among hospitalised individuals has gained greater acceptance. However, the feasibility of implementing such a system in a middle or low-income country has rarely been studied. Understanding the current prescription process and a proper needs assessment of prescribers can act as the key to successful implementation. Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore physicians' opinions on the current prescription process, and the expected benefits and perceived obstacles to employ Computerised Physician Order Entry in an Iranian teaching hospital. Methods: Initially, the interview guideline was developed through focus group discussions with eight experts. Then semi-structured interviews were held with 19 prescribers. After verbatim transcription, inductive thematic analysis was performed on empirical data. Forty hours of on-looker observations were performed in different wards to explore the current prescription process. Results: The current prescription process was identified as a physician-centred, top-down, model, where prescribers were found to mostly rely on their memories as well as being overconfident. Some errors may occur during different paper-based registrations, transcriptions and transfers. Physician opinions on Computerised Physician Order Entry were categorised into expected benefits and perceived obstacles. Confidentiality issues, reduction of medication errors and educational benefits were identified as three themes in the expected benefits category. High cost, social and cultural barriers, data entry time and problems with technical support emerged as four themes in the perceived obstacles category. Conclusions: The current prescription process has a high possibility of medication errors. Although there are different barriers confronting the implementation and continuation of Computerised Physician Order Entry in Iranian hospitals, physicians have a willingness to use them if these systems provide significant benefits. A pilot study in a limited setting and a comprehensive analysis of health outcomes and economic indicators should be performed, to assess the merits of introducing Computerised Physician Order Entry with decision support capabilities in Iran. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.