OHSU Launches Latest Innovation in Documenting End-Of-Life Care Wishes


ePOLST will help health systems more accurately document, access end-of-life treatment wishes for seriously ill patients.

Oregon Health & Science University, in partnership with Silicon Valley startup Vynca, Oregon POLST and the Oregon POLST Registry, today announced the launch of ePOLST, a fully integrated electronic version of the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, commonly known as POLST, which will assist health care systems in more accurately recording and accessing the wishes of patients who are nearing the end of life.

“For decades, Oregon has led the country in systems change to assure the wishes of those who are nearing the end of life are consistently honored,” said Susan W. Tolle, M.D., director of the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care, chair of the Oregon POLST Task Force and a leader behind the original POLST form. “The last thing any patient wants is to have clearly documented their treatment wishes through a delicate and thoughtful conversation with their health care professional and family members, and then not have those wishes honored.”

The POLST form was created in 1990 in an effort to ensure the wishes of those with advanced illness or frailty are followed. POLST programs have been adopted or are in development in 43 states across the country. POLST forms are strongly associated with desired care received. A survey of patients showed that less than 10 percent of patients want to die in the hospital. Unfortunately, without a POLST form, four times that many still do.