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Computerized physician order entry, Interdisciplinary communication, Interprofessional, Nurses, Physicians, Sociotechnical system



  1. Xiao, Shu-Qin RN, PhD
  2. Liu, Jun-E RN, PhD
  3. Chang, Hong RN, MN


Although computerized physician order entry systems improve order transmission and patient safety, overdependence on these systems can impede users' communication. This ethnographic study explored physician-nurse communication surrounding computerized physician order entry systems using a sociotechnical framework. Fieldwork conducted in a tertiary teaching hospital comprised 89 hours of participant observation, and individual semistructured interviews were held with seven nurses and five physicians. In addition, documents and artifacts were collected. Three core themes emerged. First, computerized physician order entry quality-related issues undermined the work efficiency of physicians and nurses. Specifically, usability was error prone because of cognitive overload, and the system was unable to perform relevant traces and raise alerts, demonstrating poor interoperability. Second, social factors, including insufficient training, unclear responsibilities, and a lack of awareness concerning interdisciplinary communication, compounded communication problems. Last, environmental factors, including noncoterminous spaces and times and insufficient technical support, impeded the resolution of communication problems. Technical and social contextual factors relating to computerized physician order entry systems jointly affected physician-nurse communication. Cognitive issues and insufficient alerts impacted work efficiency the most and were compounded by contextual individual- and team-related factors and environmental factors. Therefore, improved functions of computerized physician order entry systems and interprofessional communication training are required to optimize technical and social aspects of physician-nurse communication.