Pew to ONC: New EHR criteria should focus on pediatric patients' safety

The Pew Charitable Trusts penned a June 3 letter to ONC National Coordinator Donald Rucker, MD, asking the agency to incorporate a patient safety focus to its proposed interoperability rule.

Pew, along with several healthcare organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, MedStar Health and Arkansas Children's Hospital, urged the ONC to consider EHR criteria applied to pediatric care, which "can differ significantly from that of adults," Pew wrote. Some EHR usability-related medical errors can result from cases such as critical dosing differences of medications prescribed to premature infants and other weight-based dosing.

In recognition of potential EHR errors in pediatric care, the ONC proposed rule defines 10 clinical priorities for pediatric care, including weight-based medication dosing, growth chart support for children and age-based drug dose checking. While Pew and the remaining organizations that authored the letter support these provisions, the organizations suggested the following additional steps the ONC can implement to enhance EHR usability and safety used in pediatric care:

1. ONC should outline additional existing EHR certification requirements to pediatric care. For example, the agency should specify that illustrating adherence to the 10 clinical priorities must be in pediatric-focused scenarios, and EHR developers test their systems with physicians and nurses.

2. ONC should create detailed guidance for each proposed pediatric clinical priority to ensure the necessary resources are available to help organizations attain the criteria.

To access the full letter, click here.

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