Few hospitals have implemented ONC's safety guides for EHRs, study suggests

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A minority of U.S. hospitals have adhered to a set of recommended EHR safety practices developed by the ONC, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

For the study, the researchers conducted risk assessments related to the ONC's Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience guides at eight healthcare organizations of varying sizes. Each organization self-assessed their adherence to all 140 SAFER recommendations.

The SAFER guides, which ONC released in 2014, are a voluntary template hospitals may use to conduct proactive risk assessments on their policies and practices related to EHR safety and usability.

The eight healthcare organizations had fully implemented 18 percent of the SAFER recommendations. Adherence was highest for recommendations related to safe health IT, but waned for recommendations related to using health IT safely and monitoring health IT.

"Despite availability of recommendations on how to improve use of EHRs, most recommendations were not fully implemented," the study authors concluded. "New national policy initiatives are needed to stimulate implementation of these best practices."

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