Rhode Island pursues new patient safety reporting policies after physician subpoenas

The Rhode Island Department of Health is reportedly working with physicians on a new patient safety reporting policy following reports last month that four Providence-based Rhode Island Hospital physicians were subpoenaed for reporting EHR risks, according to Politico's Morning eHealth newsletter.

The subpoenas alleged the physicians participated in behaviors that fell under the umbrella of medical misconduct, due to mistakes within the EHR that the physicians self-reported. The errors did not injure any patients and reportedly were meant to draw attention to risks associated with the hospital's EHR, drawing on the need for enhanced usability and interoperability. The subpoenas primarily related to errors such as mistakenly ordered medical scans, which EHR safety researchers told Politico are common in complex system interfaces.

To foster a more collaborative approach, Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott met with physicians and administrators Feb. 25 to discuss how the department can better partner with providers to improve quality of care and patient safety, Joseph Wendelken, Ms. Alexander-Scott's spokesman, told Politico.

"Our focus has been on moving toward a more systematic, data-driven approach [that] ensures self-reporting of errors [while creating a balance] between holding individual healthcare providers accountable, and addressing the underlying systems issues that sometimes contribute to errors," he said, according to Politico.

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