ECRI rallies stakeholders with focus on HIT patient safety

The ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization is calling for collaboration on patient safety to create a "a non-punitive learning environment" to bring about improvement.

Its Partnership for Promoting Health IT Patient Safety, it recently announced, will involve healthcare providers, health IT vendors, professional societies and patient safety organizations in creating a national framework for identifying and addressing health IT safety issues.

Among the participating organizations:

  • American College of Physician Executives (ACPE)
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS)
  • American Medical Information Association (AMIA)
  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

The effort's innovation will come through adding vendors to the mix, according to ECRI.

"We will now be able to analyze similar issues but through different lenses and better identify the breaks in the process that may only be apparent to one stakeholder," Karen P. Zimmer, medical director at the ECRI Institute PSO, said.

"For example," she added, "a system may work well in stage and even when implemented, but if a provider creates a work-around, there may be unintended consequences. We are hoping to enhance the learnings and then together come up with solutions that would address these issues."

The organization, focused on analyzing safety data associated with electronic health records, has warned about problems including alarm fatigue, data integrity failures in EHRs and other health IT systems, and risks to pediatric patients from "adult" technologies in its annual top-10 list of health IT hazards.

Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania researchers have reported that EHRs can create their own "reality." They outlined 45 scenarios of miscommunication involving health IT systems in an article published last summer in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

In December, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT issued guidance on reporting health IT-related safety issues. The guide, "How to Identify and Address Unsafe Conditions Associated with Health IT," was developed by ECRI Institute under an ONC contract.

To learn more:
- find the announcement

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