HHS Health IT Safety Plan Released, Open for Public Comment | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

HHS Health IT Safety Plan Released, Open for Public Comment

December 26, 2012
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan, which builds on the Department’s overall commitment to patient safety. Health information technology can eliminate medical errors, improve the quality of care, protect patients and make the health care system more efficient.

The plan is open for public comment through Feb. 4, 2013 and addresses recommendations made in the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report, Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care. “This report will help all of us better use health IT to deliver high quality care and improve patient safety,” National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, M.D. said in a statement.

The proper steps to improve the safety of health IT can only be taken if there is better information regarding health IT’s risks, harms and impact on patient safety. The plan aims to improve knowledge on the types, frequency and severity of health IT-related patient safety events. It also aims to use health IT as a tool to facilitate the reporting of patient safety events in general.

The plan outlines several steps that are designed to: establish mechanisms that facilitate reporting among users and developers; assist Patients Safety Organizations (PSOs), ONC- Authorized Certification Bodies (ONC-ACBs) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) surveyors in identifying and addressing health IT-related safety issues; and aggregate and analyze data on health IT-related safety events.

Clinicians who report adverse events provide necessary data for developers, providers, researchers and policymakers to improve the safety of health IT and make care safer. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will propose using electronic health record certification criteria to make it easier for clinicians to report patient safety events. Working with ONC, the CMS will align its health and safety standards and guidance for providers and suppliers. CMS will also develop training for surveyors that enhances their ability to identify safe and unsafe practices associated with health IT.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Common Formats will give providers common definitions and reporting formats to improve how they gather, review and report adverse event data. AHRQ will also encourage reporting to PSOs and increase health care provider adoption of the formats.

Topics

News

Former Michigan Governor to Serve as Chair of DRIVE Health

Former Michigan Governor John Engler will serve as chair of the DRIVE Health Initiative, a campaign aimed at accelerating the U.S. health system's transition to value-based care.

NJ Medical Group Launches Statewide HIE, OneHealth New Jersey

The Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) recently launched OneHealth New Jersey, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that is now live.

Survey: 70% of Providers Using Off-Premises Computing for Some Applications

A survey conducted by KLAS Research found that 70 percent of healthcare organizations have moved at least some applications or IT infrastructure off-premises.

AMIA Warns of Tax Bill’s Impact on Graduate School Programs in Informatics

Provisions in the Republican tax bill that would count graduate student tuition waivers as taxable income would have detrimental impacts on the viability of fields such as informatics, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.

Appalachia Project to Study Relationship Between Increased Broadband Access, Improved Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission and the National Cancer Institute have joined forces to focus on how increasing broadband access and adoption in rural areas can improve the lives of rural cancer patients.

Survey: By 2019, 60% of Medicare Revenues will be Tied to Risk

Medical groups and health systems that are members of AMGA (the American Medical Group Association) expect that nearly 60 percent of their revenues from Medicare will be from risk-based products by 2019, according to the results from a recent survey.