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Implementation of a neonatal pain management module in the computerized physician order entry system

Nathalie Mazars1, Christophe Milési1, Ricardo Carbajal23, Renault Mesnage1, Clémentine Combes1, Aline Rideau Batista Novais1 and Gilles Cambonie14*

Author Affiliations

1 Neonatology Department, Arnaud de Villeneuve Hospital, CHU Montpellier, Montpellier, F-34000, France

2 Pediatric Emergency Unit, Armand Trousseau Hospital, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, F-75000, France

3 INSERM U953 Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France

4 Neonatology and Intensive Care Unit, Montpellier University Hospital Centre, Arnaud de Villeneuve Hospital, 371 Avenue du Doyen G Giraud, 34295, Montpellier, Cedex 5, France

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Annals of Intensive Care 2012, 2:38  doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-38

Published: 22 August 2012



Despite the recommended guidelines, the neonatal management of pain and discomfort often remains inadequate. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether adding a pain and discomfort module to a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system would improve pain and discomfort evaluation in premature newborns under invasive ventilation.


All newborns <37 weeks gestational age (GA) and requiring invasive ventilation were included in a prospective study during two 6-month periods: before and after the inclusion of the pain and discomfort evaluation module. The main outcome measure was the percentage of patients having at least one assessment of pain and discomfort per day of invasive ventilation using the COMFORT scale.


A total of 122 patients were included: 53 before and 69 after the incorporation of the module. The mean age was 30 (3) weeks GA. After the module was included, the percentage of patients who benefited from at least one pain and discomfort assessment per day increased from 64% to 88% (p < 0.01), and the mean number (SD) of scores recorded per day increased from 1 (1) to 3 (1) (p < 0.01). When the score was not within the established range, the nursing staff adapted analgesia/sedation doses more frequently after module inclusion (53% vs. 34%, p < 0.001). Despite higher mean doses of midazolam after module introduction [47 (45) vs. 31 (18) μg/kg/hr, p < 0.05], the durations of invasive ventilation and hospital stay, and the number of nosocomial infections, were not significantly modified.


Adding a pain and discomfort tool to the CPOE system was a simple and effective way to improve the systematic evaluation of premature newborns who required ventilatory assistance.

Analgesia; Computer-assisted instruction; Newborn; Pain management; Sedation