System Configuration

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 System Configuration SAFER Guide identifies recommended safety practices associated with the way EHR hardware and software are set up (“configured”). EHR configuration includes the creation and maintenance of the physical environment in which the system will operate, as well as the implementation of the required hardware and software infrastructure. Working through this guide with a multi-disciplinary team will focus the team’s attention on configuration-related recommended practices to optimize the safety and safe use of the EHR.

Configuration of an EHR’s hardware and software components within a particular environment is complex and vulnerable to errors. EHRs are profoundly influenced by their configuration, and numerous decisions must be made with the configuration team. Generally, the team should include practicing clinicians to ensure that technical components align with and support the clinical processes and workflows impacted by their decisions. In addition to the substantial initial configuration effort, a continuous, reliable configuration review and maintenance process must be developed and followed. EHR safety and effectiveness can be improved by establishing proper configuration procedures, policies, and practices.

Completing the self-assessment in the System Configuration SAFER Guide requires the engagement of people both within and outside the organization (such as EHR technology developers). 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 configuration 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 configuration-related 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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