Saturday, October 2, 2010

IOM to Address Safety of EHRs

Scot Silverstein from the Health Care Renewal blog posted about IOM's recently announced contract with ONC to "identify best policies and practices for improving healthcare safety when using electronic health records."
"Perhaps these studies should have been initiated, say, ten years ago, or at least before the beneficence of health IT and its capacity to revolutionize medicine was openly promoted by the past and current Administrations (the current one going so far as to institutionalize penalties for non adopters)?"

The IOM consensus study, entitled "Patient Safety and Health Information Technology," will be conducted by NAS staffers Samantha Chao, Joi Washington, and Erin Wilhelm:
"The IOM will review the available evidence and the experience from the field on how the use of health information technology (HIT) affects the safety of patient care and make recommendations on how public and private actors can maximize the safety of HIT-assisted health care services. The IOM's final report will be both comprehensive and specific in terms of recommended options and opportunities for public and private interventions that may improve the safety of care that incorporates the use EHRs and other forms of HIT."
While I agree that this effort should have been done long ago, I am glad to see it being addressed. There is much polarization about whether EHRs are the best thing since sliced bread or the worst thing to hit medicine since managed care. Perhaps this IOM study will address both the pros and cons of EHRs from a provider's perspective (though I don't think any of the study staff are providers). Health care providers need to have a voice that can be heard by the vendors and governments when we find that given instances of EHR usability are inefficient or unsafe, and maybe this study will recommendations to address this current gap.

1 comment:

  1. While I agree that this effort should have been done long ago, I am glad to see it being addressed.

    My major point was actually that it's a bad idea to earmark tens of billions of dollars and set a national program in motion, and thencommission a safety study from essentially the same organization(s) who reported in 2009 that our approaches to HIT were "insufficient" and did not support clinician cognitive needs (NRC).

    Cart before horse issue.

    See my HC Renewal post for more on this.

    -- SS