High Priority Practices

Download Guide *

Download the PDF guide to access the checklist of recommended practices for self assessment and a supporting worksheet to identify action steps to achieve those recommended practices.

The High Priority Practices SAFER Guide identifies “high risk” and “high priority” recommended safety practices intended to optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs. It broadly addresses the EHR safety concerns discussed in greater detail in the other eight SAFER Guides. Assembling a multi-disciplinary safety team is recommended to complete this guide, as a team will be best equipped to identify which EHR-related safety practices should be addressed first and which of the other SAFER Guides to turn to next.

The potential benefits of EHRs may not be fully maximized unless the people responsible for their implementation, maintenance, and use are prepared for (and manage) the new challenges and risks they create.1-6 These new risks are both “social” (involving people, leadership, workflow, and policies) and “technical” (involving EHR hardware and software and system-to-system interfaces, configurations, upgrades, and maintenance). This guide is designed to help the people responsible for EHR safety in each specific complex “sociotechnical” healthcare organization focus on the most important safety challenges and risks introduced by EHRs.

Completing the self-assessment in the High Priority Practices SAFER Guide requires the engagement of people both within and outside the organization (such as EHR technology developers and diagnostic services providers). Because this guide is designed to help organizations prioritize EHR-related safety concerns, clinician leadership in the organization should be engaged to assess whether and how any particular recommended practice affects the organization’s ability to deliver safe, high quality care. Collaboration between clinicians and staff members while completing the self-assessment in this guide will enable an accurate snapshot of the organization’s EHR status (in terms of safety) and, even more importantly, should lead to a consensus about the organization’s future path to optimize EHR-related safety and quality: setting priorities among the recommended practices not yet addressed, ensuring a plan is in place to maintain recommended practices already in place, dedicating the required resources to make necessary improvements, and working together to mitigate the highest priority safety risks introduced by the EHR.

*Persons using assistive technology may not be able to fully access information in this file. For assistance, contact ONC at onc.request@hhs.gov.

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