ECRI on health IT hazard trail

October 28, 2013 in Medical Technology

ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization has unveiled a new health IT hazard reporting system that employs AHRQ common formats and a tested standardized taxonomy for health IT hazard information.

“Well designed, well implemented health IT has the potential to help healthcare organizations improve care and patient outcomes, but too often health IT is implemented without full understanding of the work environment, and results in risks,” Karen P. Zimmer, medical director, ECRI Institute, said in a news release.

The Health IT Hazard Manager was developed and piloted in a federally funded project led by Abt Associates with ECRI Institute and Geisinger Health System’s Patient Safety Institute. The reporting system collects IT hazards via the Internet in a centralized and standardized way, which allows for the identification of specific types of hazards and the ability to trend data.

[See also: ECRI to rate medical devices.]

“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,” added Zimmer.

ECRI integrated the taxonomy into its event reporting platform and is collecting information to help healthcare organizations systematically track the root cause of health IT-related hazards and manage these risks. The hazards collected can help to create safety proactively by finding and fixing health IT-related hazards before they contribute to user errors, care-process compromise, or patient harm.

[See also: ECRI: 10 ways to cut health IT risks.]

In early 2013, ECRI issued a Deep Dive on Health Information Technology, which examined adverse events and near misses associated with the electronic health record and related technologies.


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