The “HHS Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan” addresses how health IT can eliminate medical errors, protect patients, and improve the quality and safety of healthcare. The Safety Plan enables authorities to strengthen patient safety efforts across government programs and the private sector by applying safety efforts to healthcare providers, HIT developers, patient safety organizations, and oversight bodies.
The Safety Plan to be implemented by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for HIT through the ONC Health IT Safety Program, will make it easier for clinicians to report health IT related incidents and hazards through the use of certified electronic health record technology.
ONC working through the public-private process is developing priorities for improving the safety of health IT. ONC and CMS will consider adopting safety related objectives, measures, and capabilities for EHRs through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and through ONC’s standards and certification criteria. ONC will also be expected to verify whether safety related capabilities work properly in live clinical settings where they are implemented.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will encourage reporting to Patient Safety Organizations and develop ambulatory Common Formats to enhance reporting health IT events outside the hospital. CMS will encourage the use of Common Formats in hospital incident reporting systems and train surveyors to identify safe and unsafe practices associated with health IT.
Under a new ONC contract to contribute to the Safety Plan, the Joint Commission will work to better detect and proactively address potential health IT related safety issues across a variety of healthcare settings.
Go to www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/health-it-and-patient-safety for more information on the Safety Plan.