News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Unveils High-Tech Computer System for Patient Records and Physician Orders

Children’s among first pediatric hospitals in nation to implement “no-handwriting” system

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is using a computerized provider order entry system to better ensure that each child gets the care his or her doctor intends.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is one of a few pediatric hospitals in the nation where physicians use an information management system for virtually all inpatient care orders – from blood tests to medications to treatments.

Known as Children’sNet, the system replaces paper forms and prescription pads for many of Children’s processes. Orders are typed, instead of being written by hand, and the computer can “check” orders for entry errors or missing information. Thus, information is more complete and easy to read.

“Even the most foolproof verbal and manual processes must compensate for human error. This system can only improve the safety and care for all of our patients,” said Andrew Nowalk, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Resident. “Children’sNet never forgets, misplaces, or tires, and it can ‘be’ everywhere at once.”

Fewer than 2 percent of all U.S. hospitals have implemented this type of computerized physician order entry system. Children’s implemented the system over a six-day conversion at the end of October.

Children’sNet also will record standardized information and give Children’s staff the ability to scientifically measure, analyze and improve patient care and outcomes.

“Much of what we will learn about best practices can apply wherever children receive medical care, even in hospitals that do not yet have computer order entry,” said Medical Director Eugene Wiener, MD. “I think this kind of leadership is expected of an institution that is among the top in the country.”

The computer system also solves the issue of having one centrally kept medical record by providing up-to-date information simultaneously via computer terminals to everyone involved in a patient’s care. For example, Children’sNet’s secure system allows a child’s doctor to view the latest lab results while the nurse charts vital signs, and a respiratory therapist reviews orders for a breathing treatment.

Children’s employees and physicians were trained on the system over the last three months.

“Children’s medical staff are accomplishing what few other pediatric hospitals have done,” said Jacque Dailey, Chief Information Officer. “Many physicians dedicated time to creating and testing the system’s clinical checks and balances. In addition, each physician using the system has taken the time to attend training, and our medical residents have been eager to get started.”

The only departments at Children’s not currently using Children’sNet will be Pathology, Hematology/Oncology (due to complex chemotherapy orders) and Children’s outpatient services. All other departments will use Children’sNet to order services, tests and treatments, review lab and radiology results, and track patient records.

“Improving patient safety, quality of care and outcomes is something Children’s strives for every day, and this is a giant leap in that effort,” said Chief Operating Officer Roger Oxendale. “Making this conversion also allows us to design the new Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh [in Lawrenceville] as a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital.”



Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is the only hospital in western Pennsylvania dedicated solely to the care of infants, children and young adults. The hospital consistently is ranked as one of the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked seventh in funding provided by the National Institutes of Health. Children’s has 2,200 employees and 740 active staff physicians.

Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008