Institute of Medicine Makes 10 Recommendations for Patient Safety in Health IT

The Institute of Medicine, which cited a need for greater oversight of health IT by public and private sectors, has made 10 recommendations for patient safety in health IT.

IOM's report, "Patient Safety and Health IT: Building Safer Systems for Better Care," says there is little published evidence quantifying the risk associated with HIT and thus calls for a greater focus on HIT's effect on patient safety.

The recommendations include the following:

1. The Secretary of HHS should publish an action and surveillance plan within 12 months to outline how HHS will work with the private sector to assess the impact of HIT on patient safety and minimize any associated risks.
2. The Secretary of HHS should ensure HIT vendors support the free exchange of information on HIT experiences and issues, including those related to patient safety.
3. ONC should work with private and public sectors to make comparative user experiences across vendors publicly available.
4.  The Secretary of HHS should fund a new HIT Safety Council to evaluate criteria for assessing and monitoring the safe use of HIT.
5. All HIT vendors should be required to publicly register and list their products with the ONC.
6. The Secretary of HHS should delineate the quality and risk management process requirements for HIT vendors, focusing on safety and usability.
7. The Secretary of HHS should create a process for vendors and users to report HIT-related deaths, serious injuries or unsafe conditions.
8. The Secretary of HHS should recommend Congress establish an independent federal entity for investigating patient safety deaths, serious injuries or potentially unsafe conditions associated with HIT.
9. The Secretary of HHS should monitor and publicly report on the progress of HIT safety annually. The Secretary can direct the FDA to regulate HIT if progress is insufficient.
10. HHS should collaborate with other research groups and support cross-disciplinary research in using HIT as part of a learning healthcare system.

Related Articles on Health IT and Patients:

Study: U.S. Patients Need More Control Over EHRs for Healthcare to Gain Their Benefits
Half of Physicians Say EHRs are Safer Than Paper, But Patients Still Wary

Survey: Number of Consumers Using Mobile Phones for Health Info More Than Doubles Since Last Year

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