Health Information Technology Safety

July 10, 2013
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Health IT SafetyThe Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has released the Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan.

Health IT SafetyThe Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has released the Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan.  It builds on recommendations of the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care, and provides a roadmap for increasing knowledge of health IT safety and ensuring that health IT is used to actually make care safer.

The plan leverages existing authorities to strengthen patient safety efforts across government programs and the private sector—including health care providers, health IT developers, patient safety organizations (PSOs), and accrediting and oversight bodies.  Key partners and responsibilities include::

  • ONC will make it easier for clinicians to report health IT-related incidents and hazards through the use of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT).
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will help operationalize the plan through::
    • Collaboration with PSOs, providers, and developers to add a focus of health IT to their collection, aggregation, analysis, and mitigation of  providers’ adverse event reports. AHRQ will also provide guidance to PSOs on how they can work with EHR developers to identify and mitigate health IT risks.
    • Provide tools and resources to help providers identify, describe, and report health IT-related events and hazards.
    • Supporting the research and development of tools and guidance for using health IT to improve safety and mitigate health IT safety risks.
    • Beginning development of Common Formats for ambulatory care that will enhance reporting of health IT events outside the hospital.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will encourage the use of the standardized reporting forms in hospital incident reporting systems, and train surveyors to identify safe and unsafe practices associated with health IT.
  • Working through a public-private process,ONC will develop priorities for improving the safety of health IT. ONC and CMS will consider adopting safety-related objectives, measures, and capabilities for CEHRTs through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and ONC’s standards and certification criteria.
    • Guidance has also been issued to clarify that ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies will be expected to verify whether safety-related capabilities work properly in live clinical settings in which they are implemented.
    • ONC has contracted with The Joint Commission to better detect and proactively address potential health IT-related safety issues across a variety of health care settings. The Joint Commission will expand its capacity to investigate the role of health IT as a contributing cause of adverse events and will identify high priority areas for expected types of health IT-related events.

Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Safety Plan [PDF – 1.14 MB]

Fact Sheet [PDF – 1.21 MB

(Health IT / shutterstock)

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