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Groups Urge ONC, AHRQ to Support Health IT Patient Safety

ECRI Institute, AQIPS, the Bipartisan Quality Center, and the Pew Charitable Trusts are calling for support for a nationwide health IT safety collaborative.

Groups are urging ONC and AHRQ to support health IT safety

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- ECRI Institute, the Alliance for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (AQIPS), the Bipartisan Quality Center (BPC), and The Pew Charitable Trusts have established a shared vision for a nationwide health IT patient safety collaborative and are now urging the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the ONC to support their efforts.

In a letter addressed to AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna, MD, and National Coordinator Don Rucker, MD, the organizations acknowledged the important role health IT plays in healthcare delivery.

However, they also noted that when health IT doesn’t work as intended, it can lead to new challenges and unprecedented consequences.

“Like any new technology, it is imperative to identify safety challenges that result from product design, the use of systems by clinicians, customization decisions by healthcare facilities, and the interaction of different technologies,” the letter stated.

The groups outlined the key characteristics needed for a successful health IT safety collaborative, including securing participation from providers, health IT developers, safety experts, and other stakeholders; aggregating data from multiple sources to prioritize emerging risks for action; and distributing information on health IT safety tools, best practices, and resources.

To achieve success in these endeavors, ECRI Institute plans to incorporate each of these characteristics into its existing Partnership for Health IT Safety, which was launched in 2013.

Going forward, the organization will work with stakeholders to formulate leadership, data, and funding priorities.

AQIPS plans to coordinate the collection of data for the collaborative. AQIPS will also leverage its experience from holding several stakeholder HIT safety summits, serving on governmental policy task forces, and developing tool kits to foster collaboration throughout the healthcare system to improve patient care, safety, and outcomes.

BPC and Pew plan to lend technical assistance to support the launch of the national collaborative. BPC has released two sets of consensus recommendations over the last five years, most recently calling for a coordinated national leadership effort to set health IT safety priorities and measure progress.

In the past, Pew has convened EHR developers, healthcare providers and stakeholders on ways to improve health IT safety, and recently released a report on the ways collaboration can reduce the potential for patient harm.

Ultimately, these groups will utilize their knowledge and experience to promote health IT safety nationwide and encourage other stakeholders to do the same.

“Over the coming months, we will engage both private and public sector stakeholders to join the National Health IT Safety Collaborative in supporting and improving health IT's role in providing safer, higher quality care.”

“We hope you will support our efforts by sending agency representatives to participate in the national collaborative, disseminate research findings, and undertake other activities, as appropriate,” the letter concluded.

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