EHR adoption turns 10, sparking campaign to improve usability

Patient safety and health IT experts have teamed up with the American Medical Association to launch a new campaign to resolve poor EHR usability, dubbed "EHR See What We Mean."  

The MedStar Health and AMA effort recognizes a decade of the EHR. his February marks the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which encouraged the adoption of EHRs to improve the safety and quality of patient care. The act is widely credited with the high adoption rate of EHRs today.

For their campaign, Columbia, Md.-based MedStar and the AMA have set up a website — EHRSeeWhatWeMean.org — dedicated to raising awareness of the risks and challenges clinicians face because of poor EHR design, which they say jeopardizes patient safety. The campaign's theme is "Everybody Has Responsibilities" to represent the need for increased collaboration in the EHR space.

To demonostrate the clincian perspective, visitors to the website find a series of rare real and simulated videos to highlight the challenges clinicians face each day and express their ideas for improvement. 

The website lists what healthcare stakeholders, such as policymakers, healthcare providers and EHR vendors, can do to make EHRs more efficient and easier to use. MedStar is also gathering signatures for a letter it plans to send U.S. Senate and House oversight committees, promoting the idea that EHR usability and safety should be a policy priority at HHS.

"EHR safety must be a priority for all stakeholders. Nearly every high-risk industry promotes the sharing of safety information to foster improvement, and health information technology should be no different,"  Raj Ratwani, PhD, director of the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, said in a news release.

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