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ECRI Institute Releases Health IT Hazard Reporting System

October 29, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization (PSO) has announced the release of a new health IT hazard reporting system that utilizes Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ) common formats, and a tested, standardized taxonomy for health IT hazard information.

The health IT hazard taxonomy—known as the Health IT Hazard Manager—was developed and piloted in a federally-funded project led by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Abt Associates with ECRI Institute and the Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System's Patient Safety Institute. The ECRI Institute PSO reporting system collects IT hazards via the internet in a centralized and standardized way, which allows for the identification of specific types of hazards and the ability to trend data.

ECRI Institute PSO integrated the taxonomy into its event reporting platform and is collecting information to help healthcare organizations systematically track the root cause of health IT-related hazards and manage these risks. The hazards collected can help to create safety proactively by finding and fixing health IT-related hazards before they contribute to user errors, care-process compromise, or patient harm, according to officials. In early 2013, ECRI Institute PSO issued a deep dive on health information technology, which examined adverse events and near misses associated with the electronic health record  (EHR) and related technologies.

“Well designed, well implemented health IT has the potential to help healthcare organizations improve care and patient outcomes, but too often health IT is implemented without full understanding of the work environment, and results in risks," Karen Zimmer, M.D., medical director, ECRI Institute PSO, said in a statement. “It is important to understand the nature of health IT hazards, defined as any characteristic of health IT or its interactions with other systems—including humans—that increases the likelihood of compromised care-process and patient harm. It is equally important to correct health IT systems to reduce or avoid such risks.”

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