Using order sets’ will save you time

Using order sets for common chief complaints saves time and provides consistency in patient care, says Carol Buscher, RN, CEN, SANE, clinical coordinator for the ED at University Hospital in Cincinnati. "You can press a single button to order all the labs. You don’t have to send each lab separately, which would require going through multiple screens."

The ED uses order sets for abdominal pain, trauma, headaches, possible strokes or seizures, neurological symptoms, toxicology, and chest pain. When the chief complaint is entered, the order set appears on the screen and serves as a reminder to order all the diagnostic tests needed. "For example, if a female patient has had abdominal pain for two days, this clues you in to the tests to order, such as a CBC [complete blood count] and beta."

All medications such as Dilantin (phenytoin), manufactured by Parke-Davis in Morris Plains, NJ, and Solfoton (phenobarbital), manufactured by ECR Pharmaceuticals in Richmond, VA, are listed with correct levels for specific neurological symptoms. Order sets streamline patient care and decrease length of stay, explains Buscher. "Patient care is not delayed by waiting for diagnostic tests to be ordered."

[Editor’s Note: University Hospital’s ED uses Last Word Order Communication system, which contains order sets. For more information, contact IDX Systems Corp., P.O. Box 1070, Burlington, VT 05402-1070. Telephone: (802) 862-1022. Fax: (802) 864-6848. E-mail: Web site:]