ECRI Institute unveils health IT hazard reporting system

The ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization has created a health IT hazard reporting system incorporating Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ) common formats and a tested, standardized taxonomy designed to make it easier to see trends.

The Health IT Hazard Manager was developed through a federally funded project led by Abt Associates with ECRI Institute and Geisinger Health System's Patient Safety Institute. The reporting system collects information about IT hazards via the Internet to create a central repository of data.

The taxonomy has been integrated into its event-reporting platform to help healthcare organizations track causes of health IT-related hazards and manage these risks before they contribute to errors or patient harm.

"It is important to understand the nature of health IT hazards, defined as any characteristic of health IT or its interactions with other systems--including humans--that increases the likelihood of compromised care-process and patient harm. It is equally important to correct health IT systems to reduce or avoid such risks," Karen P. Zimmer, ECRI Institute PSO medical director, says in an announcement.

In early 2013, the PSO focused on adverse events and near misses associated with the electronic health record and related technologies. The institute cited three information errors among in its most recent top 10 list of health technology hazards.

Indeed, researchers from Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania, saying electronic records tend to create their own "reality," recently came up with 45 scenarios miscommunication involving not just EMRs, but also physician order entry systems, pharmacy technology and other systems.

After reading the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' 50-page final health IT safety plan, FierceEMR's editor Marla Durben Hirsch expressed concern that it lets vendors off easy at the expense of providers. There's still no requirement that vendors report health IT-related adverse events, she notes, but relies on them to police themselves.

To learn more:
- find the announcement