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AMIA Seeks Out Support for Health IT Safety Strategy, other Innovation Initiatives

September 22, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Bethesda, Md.-based American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) took to Capitol Hill this week seeking Congressional support for a national health IT safety strategy, as well as to fund efforts such as the Precision Medicine and Cancer Moonshot Initiatives.

Officials from AMIA’s Board of Directors, Public Policy Committee and Industry Advisory Council spoke to House and Senate leaders pointing out that over the last several months, leadership in the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee have passed bipartisan legislation to advance medical innovation in the U.S. As such, AMIA urged Congress to move forward with compromise legislation this year, which includes vital funding for efforts such as the Precision Medicine and Cancer Moonshot Initiatives.

AMIA officials highlighted how various provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act and the Senate’s Medical Innovations package would benefit patients and bolster the nation’s standing worldwide in biomedical advances. Specifically, AMIA noted how various provisions are meant to modernize clinical trials and enable more research, given the digitization of healthcare delivery and the adoption of informatics tools, such as electronic health records (EHRs). The hope for many is that health IT provisions that became part of the 21st Century Cures Act in the House will make it to President Obama’s desk this fall.

And, AMIA spoke to congressional officials to the importance of understanding ways to leverage health IT for patient safety. “The introduction of health IT applications to healthcare delivery has unambiguously improved patient safety and saved lives,” AMIA’s Health IT Safety brief noted.  “However, health IT has also introduced new, novel and complex threats to patient safety, resulting in extensive harm. AMIA urges Congress to support the development of a national-level strategy for health IT safety. Such a strategy must include a centralized public-private partnership meant to provide a trusted space where stakeholders can convene to review evidence and jointly develop solutions to critical health IT safety issues.”

AMIA pointed officials to a report published last year, which sought to better understand how health IT contributes to or detracts from patient safety, suggesting the need for a “trusted space where stakeholders could convene to review evidence and jointly develop solutions to critical health IT safety issues.”

AMIA President and CEO Douglas B. Fridsma, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement, “Now is the time to get serious about health IT patient safety. Now is the time to fully fund a collaborative, national center for health IT safety."

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