RTI lands health IT safety center work

October 11, 2014 in Medical Technology

RTI International has landed a contract with the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to develop a roadmap for a national health IT safety center.

RTI is charged with defining the focus, functions, governance and value of a new national health IT safety center. Prior work by government, industry and academia has envisioned the new center as a public-private entity that provides engagement, evidence and education around health IT safety.

“Health IT is creating novel opportunities for patients and providers, while also raising new and important safety concerns,” said Doug Johnston, director of health IT policy in RTI’s Center for the Advancement of Health Information Technology and the project director, in a news release announcing the contract win. “As a first step, the roadmap will define a path for creating a new center that helps gather information and share learning about the safety and safe use of health IT,” he added.

To develop the roadmap, RTI will convene a task force of public-private stakeholders including safety researchers, patient advocates, providers, health IT vendors, medical liability and health insurers, government officials and others. The task force will provide recommendations and help build a shared awareness about safety best practices and risks involved in health IT. RTI will provide ONC with the roadmap for future development of the health IT safety center.

“RTI’s expertise in patient safety, health IT and safety data analysis positions us to best address how to further health IT safety through creating a roadmap using an open and transparent process, ” Linda Dimitropoulos, director of RTI’s Center for the Advancement of Health Information Technology, and the associate project director, said in a press statement.

Since 2005, RTI has conducted projects for ONC, including managing several multi-year, cross-state initiatives focused on health information privacy, security and data exchange.

{See also: HHS awards privacy, security contracts.]

During a three-day workshop last May, on the FDA’s Safety and Innovation Act efforts, several health IT stakeholders called for a national health IT safety center – and the sooner the better.

[See also: Feds push for health IT safety center.]

“This safety center needs to be in place as soon as possible,” said Michael Hodgkins, MD, chief medical information officer at the American Medical Association, adding that it will be “where the rubber meets the road.”

The question, however, was how the safety center would function. Panelists, experts and stakeholders at the workshop were adamant that the center should not play any role as an enforcer, but rather should serve more as a convener and a gatherer of data on safety incidences.

Ideally, participating organizations would use the information gathered by the center to implement health IT “better, faster, cheaper and safer,” Matt Quinn, FCC’s director of healthcare initiatives, said at the workshop.

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/rti-lands-health-it-safety-center-work

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