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Health IT and Patient Safety

Health IT and Patient Safety Tools and Resources

Tools play a central role in synthesizing knowledge and making it available to those who need it in a way that is easy to understand, practically relevant, and actionable. ONC and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are supporting research and development of evidence-based tools and interventions designed for various stakeholder audiences, including health IT developers, implementers, clinical staff, and patient safety organizations (PSOs). Tools and resources in addition to those below can be found at AHRQ’s Health IT Portfolio.

Health IT Safety Event Reporting

  • Patient Safety Organization FAQs: PSOs provide a secure environment where clinicians and provider organizations can collect, aggregate, and analyze data in order to identify and reduce risks associated with patient care, including issues related to health IT. Health IT developers can contribute their expertise through working relationships with PSOs. AHRQ has compiled this list of FAQs to assist all stakeholders to learn more about PSOs and ways in which they can work with these organizations to improve patient safety.
  • AHRQ’s Common Formats: The Common Formats are a comprehensive and flexible tool for reporting all patient safety concerns using standardized clinical definitions, data elements, and reporting formats. The Common Formats make patient safety reporting more efficient by enabling one-time data collection and subsequent routing to whoever needs or requests the data. The most recent version of the Common Formats includes a “Device with Health IT” format that allows collection of standardized information about health IT-related adverse events as well as events where health IT may have been a contributing factor.
  • AHRQ Common Formats - Information for Hospitals and State Survey Agencies (SAs) - Comprehensive Patient Safety Reporting Using AHRQ's Common Formats: This CMS guidance memorandum explains why AHRQ’s Common Formats should be used in hospital reporting systems to meet the CMS hospital Condition of Participation (CoP) for Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI). It also encourages CMS surveyors to develop familiarity and expertise with the Common Formats.
  • Hazard Manager: The Hazard Manager is a software tool that can alert users to potential health IT-related patient safety events.
  • Reporting Patient Safety Events Challenge External Links Disclaimer:ONC sponsored this challenge to promote the development of tools and interfaces that decrease reporting burden and improve workflow efficiency with respect to adverse event reporting to hospital incident reporting systems and PSOs.

Implementation and Workflow

Development, Design, and Usability

Health IT Safety Culture and Shared Responsibility

  • EHR Contracts: Key Contract Terms for Users to Understand [PDF - 513KB]: This guide is aimed at purchasers and users of EHR systems who are or may become legally bound by EHR technology developer contracts. It provides examples and plain language explanations that will assist purchasers and users of EHRs to understand and evaluate contract terms they should consider when purchasing EHR systems and services in order to protect their organizations from patient safety risks that may arise when these organizations rely on EHRs for critical aspects of their operations.

Additional Tools and Resources

* Disclaimer: This guide was developed under the contract Unintended Consequences of Health IT and Health Information Exchange. It should not be viewed as legal advice and does not attempt to address all of the many legal and other issues that may arise in contract negotiations. Each healthcare organization presents its own unique circumstances. Purchasers should consult an experienced attorney for assistance in contract negotiations.

Last updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014