ONC Releases Final Health IT Patient Safety Plan

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is contracting with the Joint Commission to address patient safety concerns, according to the final patient safety plan released in July.

The final plan, which is an update to the draft plan released in December 2012, is intended to respond to evolving patient-safety threats that can arise through the use of electronic health records (EHRs).

As part of its contract with ONC, the Joint Commission “will expand its capacity to investigate the role of health IT as a cause of adverse events, and will develop educational materials and training opportunities to enable health care providers to investigate and analyze health IT-related adverse events and develop follow-up and corrective action,” according to a fact sheet released with the final plan.

Another key provision of the plan aims to make it easier for clinicians to report health IT-related events and hazards via EHRs. Strategies for doing this, according to the ONC fact sheet, include:

  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will update its Common Formats so that clinicians can more easily record and report information about health IT-related events and hazards to Patient Safety Organizations.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will encourage the use of Common Formats in hospital incident reporting programs and will develop training resources to educate CMS surveyors on health IT safety and event reporting.
  • ONC will propose standards and certification criteria that make it easier for providers to quickly generate incident reports from data stored in EHRs.
  • AHRQ and ONC will provide tools and resources to help providers identify, describe, and report health IT-related events and hazards.


Click here to read the ONC’s proposal in its entirety.


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