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CHIME: Health IT Safety Plan Needs Private, Non-Government Stakeholder Input

February 6, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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In response to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC)  Patient Safety Action & Surveillance Plan, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) recently submitted comments supporting the framework, but urged the agency to seek private and non-government stakeholder input.

The ONC is using existing policy levers and programs within HHS, rather than create another federal entity to enhance health IT safety. While CHIME didn’t find this to be an issue, the group of healthcare CIOs also thought the plan should include a stakeholder-driven organization that included federal partners, but was not under the direct control of federal agencies.

“CHIME applauds ONC’s efforts to conceptualize its Patient Safety Plan within existing policy mechanisms and programs,” CHIME said in its comments.  “In particular, we support the notion that pre-existing patient safety efforts across government programs and the private sector – including those sponsored by providers, vendors and healthcare safety oversight bodies – be used as foundational leverage to strengthen health IT and patient safety.”

CHIME said the ONC should use “voluntary consensus bodies,” which are organizations that identify and improve existing standards and guidelines for use within the government. CHIME would like these voluntary consensus bodies to facilitate agreement among healthcare stakeholders on a recognized set of standards and guidelines for patient safety in health IT. 

“We believe such an organization could then be buttressed by an enhanced network of patient safety organizations (PSOs) that could leverage appropriately aggregated reports to encourage continuous learning,” CHIME said.

Another comment on the proposed plan included CHIME’s desire for a more focused on  patient data-matching, saying that, “despite years of development, no clear strategy has emerged to accurately and consistently match patient data.  Unintended injury or illness attributable to patient data-matching error is a considerable, and growing, problem in this era of health information exchange.”

 The full text of CHIME’s letter to ONC can be found at http://www.cio-chime.org/advocacy/resources/download/CHIME_Response_ONC_Patient_Safety_Plan_Final.pdf

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