Clinical Standardization

Seamless integration of clinical systems to provide collaborative patient-centered care

Improving Order Sets

More than one thousand pre-printed orders (PPOs) have been identified throughout the province. Significant effort is currently spent on finding, sorting, analyzing and updating PPOs for standardization province-wide.

The terms Order Sets and PPOs are often used interchangeably, however, there are important distinctions between them when it comes to the electronic health record.

Order Sets

An order set is a core component of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and clinical information systems (CIS). Order sets are electronic, interactive groups of service requests related by disease, condition, point in care, or clinical topic. A provider can place a specific order set directly through a CIS with a few keystrokes or mouse clicks. Order sets may have built-in decision support functions to help a provider with entering orders.

Pre-Printed Orders (PPOs)

PPOs are based on paper documentation. They may be housed electronically (for example, as a PDF), but PPOs ultimately need to be printed on paper, scanned and archived in the health record.

Comparison of Order Sets and PPOs


A recent report from Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) found the following benefits in implementing order sets:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Improved quality of care
  • Improved patient treatment outcomes
  • Increased patient safety
  • Reduced medication errors
  • Reduced health care costs

(CADTH, 2019)

CADTH (2019). Standardized hospital order sets in acute care: Clinical evidence, cost-effectiveness, and guidelines Retrieved July 29, 2019 from