ONC's EHR reporting program will usher in new phase of usability and safety oversight, Pew says  

ONC's EHR reporting program will create more transparency around the usability and safety of EHRs by providing data from developers and end users on different vendor systems' performances, according to a Dec. 4 Pew Charitable Trusts report.

Under the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress assigned ONC to develop a national reporting program that compiles and releases data on various aspects of EHR performance, including usability, security, interoperability and conformance to certification testing.

EHR usability is intrinsically linked to patient safety, with system issues such as alert fatigue, unclear default settings and incomplete documentation contributing as issues that may potentially harm patients, according to Pew.

As ONC continues to develop the EHR reporting program, the agency should consider the following recommendations to improve EHR transparency and usability, according to Pew:

1. Review both the design of EHR systems as well as how they are implemented in practices because hospitals and physicians' offices may request changes to an EHR tailored to accommodate the respective workflows, which could lead to setting-specific usability issues.

2. Use passive data collection, such as wearables, to decrease reporting burdens that the EHR reporting program may place on clinicians. This data can include where clinicians spend most time in the EHR system and what types of actions they perform, which can help identify areas that need improvements. 

3. Incorporate end users, such as physicians and nurses, in the testing of EHRs because these individuals can help EHR developers pinpoint potential risks that can harm patients.

More articles on EHRs:
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Bayhealth deploys Apple's Health Records app: 4 notes  
Cerner CEO unveils next layer of Amazon partnership

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