IOM to Study How to Maximize Patient Safety Through Use of HIT
ONC authorizes $989,000 contract for one-year study of best policies and practices.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) will conduct a one-year study aimed at ensuring that health information technology (HIT) will achieve its full potential for improving patient safety in health care. The study will be carried out under a $989,000 contract announced Sept. 29 by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), which is charged with coordinating federal efforts regarding HIT adoption and meaningful use.
The study will examine a range of patient safety-related issues, including prevention of HIT-related errors and rapid reporting of any HIT-related patient safety issues. It will make recommendations concerning the potential effects of government policies and private-sector actions in maximizing patient safety and avoiding medical errors through HIT. According to IOM, the study will:
- summarize existing knowledge of the effects of HIT on patient safety;
- identify approaches to promote the safety-enhancing features of HIT while protecting patients from any safety problems associated with HIT;
- identify approaches for preventing HIT-related patient safety problems before they occur;
- identify approaches for surveillance and reporting activities to bring about rapid detection and correction of patient safety problems;
- address the potential roles of private-sector entities such as accrediting and certification bodies, as well as patient safety organizations and professional and trade associations; and
- discuss existing authorities and potential roles for key federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Donald Berwick, MD, CMS administrator, commented, "Improving patient safety in health care depends on thoroughness in planning and execution, to find problems systematically and correct them decisively. We have high expectations for patient safety improvement through HIT, but achieving those goals will require the same careful and vigorous approach that is needed to improve safety in any enterprise. The IOM can help us identify a productive path to better patient safety with the help of HIT."
In July, CMS announced regulations outlining the initial requirements that eligible health care providers must meet to demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology for the Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments program, which CMS will administer. Also in July, ONC announced regulations completing the adoption of an initial set of standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria to enable the testing and certification of EHR technology for meaningful use Stage 1. Earlier this month, ONC named initial testing and certifying bodies.