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Study: Hospitals Aren’t Implementing EHR SAFER Recommendations

May 3, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Hospitals are not adhering to Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) recommendations, according to a study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The SAFER Guides, developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), consist of nine guides organized into three broad groups. According to ONC, these guides “enable healthcare organizations to address EHR safety in a variety of areas.” The guides outline best practices for healthcare organizations to implement and utilize electronic health records and reduce the chance of an adverse event.

For the study, researchers conducted risk assessments of eight organizations of varying size, complexity, EHR type, and EHR adoption maturity. Each organization self-assessed adherence to all 140 unique SAFER recommendations contained within the nine guides. In each guide, recommendations were organized into three broad domains: “safe health IT” (45 total recommendations); “using health IT safely” (80 total recommendations); and “monitoring health IT” (15 total recommendations).

The data revealed that the eight sites fully implemented 25 out of 140 (18 percent) SAFER recommendations. The mean number of “fully implemented” recommendations per guide ranged from 94 percent (system interfaces—18 recommendations) to 63 percent (clinical communication—12 recommendations). Adherence was higher for “safe health IT” domain (82 percent) versus “using health IT safely” (73 percent) and “monitoring health IT” (67 percent).

The researchers concluded, “Despite availability of recommendations on how to improve use of EHRs, most recommendations were not fully implemented. New national policy initiatives are needed to stimulate implementation of these best practices.”

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