Pilot Aims to Identify, Prevent Health IT Hazards

While health IT use has improved the quality of care provided to patients in many ways, various studies and provider experience have shown inherit risks in the technology exist that can lead to disastrous outcomes for patients. Identifying and eradicating these health IT hazards is the goal of a new pilot project launched earlier this year by the ECRI Institute. The “Partnership for Promoting Health IT Patient Safety” pilot aims to create a national framework to proactively identify and resolve health IT safety issues based on various health IT events and hazards.

AHIMA is partnering with ECRI on the project, and joins a variety of healthcare providers, health IT vendors, public policy organizations, and other professional organizations also working to collect health data, analyze it for hazards, and publically report the results to improve patient safety within health IT.

During the pilot, participating providers will submit hazard and adverse patient-safety event data they discover while using electronic health record systems, health information exchanges, and other health IT using the ECRI Institute’s patient safety organization web-based reporting system.

ECRI will aggregate and de-identify the data before passing it along to pilot participants to study the data, identify solutions, and disseminate best practices to further stop the hazards from occurring, according to an ECRI Institute presentation on the pilot.

AHIMA’s role in the pilot will be helping with the adaptation and dissemination of lessons learned during the pilot study, and sharing the results with AHIMA members and other industry stakeholders.

Hazards identified by providers during the pilot can range from human-computer interaction errors, inherit system design flaws, inaccurate data input by humans, improper patient identification, functionality gaps, or inadequate user training, among others.

ECRI Institute expects to start presenting the findings from the partnership in January 2015.

“Patient safety has always been a top priority for AHIMA and our members,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “AHIMA’s participation in this vital project will help identify current and future patient safety risks. We can then work together to develop strategies to remedy these problems and ideally prevent them from occurring again.”

As part of the partnership, ECRI and AHIMA plan to develop resources on health IT hazards including webinars and a panel discussion during AHIMA’s 86th Annual Convention and Exhibit in September.

“We know a lot about usability issues when it comes to health IT. This new effort, though, will look at how to implement technology, how to structure leadership, and how to avoid health IT safety risks,” said Ronni Solomon, ECRI executive vice president and general counsel, in an AHIMA press release.

Read more about the ECRI Institute and their newly implemented Health IT Hazard Manager Tool in a March 2014 Journal of AHIMA article available here.

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