In a letter this week to the National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Health IT Safety Committee, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) praised the reportable measures the NQF is developing to help advance the safety and safe use of health information technology.
The NQF’s Health IT Safety committee’s draft report, entitled “Identification and Prioritization of Health IT Patient Safety Measures” and released on Nov. 17, identifies nine measurement areas for health IT safety and several measure concepts that could reflect performance in health IT safety.
“AMIA believes these measures, when fully developed, should serve as a foundation for future policy, and they should catalyze work among developers and providers alike to better prevent and/or mitigate health IT-related concerns,” the organization wrote in the letter.
However, AMIA also stated that the development of the measures should be done in way that “minimizes the additional collection burden on clinicians.”
“We must ensure that the data collected for safety measures is done in a way similar to how we collect data for quality and value. There must be consistency in how the data is collected and common ways for representing the data in structured way, so that the same fundamental building blocks are used to construct measures using the same data,” AMIA stated in the letter.
AMIA also noted that health IT safety is a responsibility shared among developers, healthcare organizations, clinicians, patients and government stakeholders.
“Through the creation of a single body focused on health IT safety, empowered to collect information on, evaluate and report on the overall safety of health IT, AMIA believes that event reporting, education, data aggregation and the creation of best practices can improve patient safety, better engender patient engagement and fulfill the potential of health IT,” the organization wrote.
To this end, AMIA is calling on Congress to “fully fund a collaborative, national center for health IT safety, as outlined in the recent Health IT Safety Center Roadmap.”
AMIA also outlined a number of specific recommendations for NQF as it moves forward on its work. In the near-term, AMIA recommend the NQF focus on concepts and measures that can be implemented in a non-disruptive fashion, using data already collected. “Specifically, NQF should prioritize measures related to clinical decision support (CDS), patient identification, HIT-focused risk-management infrastructure and system downtime,” AMIA wrote. “Next, we suggest NQF prioritize measures related to user-centered design, use of HIT to facilitate timely and high-quality documentation, patient engagement, and system interoperability.”
Next, AMIA suggested NQF prioritize measures related to user-centered design, use of HIT to facilitate timely and high-quality documentation, patient engagement and system interoperability.
AMIA also encouraged the committee to develop specific measures in the area of diagnostic errors in order “capture, categorize and improve the incidence of diagnostic errors, and begin to address this glaring problem.”
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