OBJECTIVES - In the wake of the Institute of Medicine report, To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System (LT Kohn, JM Corrigan, MS Donaldson, eds; Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999), numerous advisory panels are advocating widespread implementation of physician order entry as a means to reduce errors and improve patient safety. Successful implementation of an order entry system requires that attention be given to the user interface. The authors assessed physician satisfaction with the user interface of two different order entry systems-a commercially available product, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS).
DESIGN AND MEASUREMENT - A standardized instrument for measuring user satisfaction with physician order entry systems was mailed to internal medicine and medicine-pediatrics house staff physicians. The subjects answered questions on each system using a 0 to 9 scale.
RESULTS - The survey response rates were 63 and 64 percent for the two order entry systems. Overall, house staff were dissatisfied with the commercial system, giving it an overall mean score of 3.67 (95 percent confidence interval [95%CI], 3.37-3.97). In contrast, the CPRS had a mean score of 7.21 (95% CI, 7.00-7.43), indicating that house staff were satisfied with the system. Overall satisfaction was most strongly correlated with the ability to perform tasks in a "straightforward" manner.
CONCLUSIONS - User satisfaction differed significantly between the two order entry systems, suggesting that all order entry systems are not equally usable. Given the national usage of the two order entry systems studied, further studies are needed to assess physician satisfaction with use of these same systems at other institutions.