Implementing Health IT

The successful implementation of a health IT system is essential to delivering safe care for patients and a more satisfying work experience for clinicians and staff.

The implementation process is complex, including components such as tailoring the system to support safe, high-quality patient care, and ensuring contingency plans are established to address system down times.

photoHealth IT system implementation is a multi-stage process. When implementing a health IT system, it is critical to consider first what care processes it needs to support and how the hardware and software should be set up to support them in patient- and clinician-friendly ways. Configuring the system can be complex and requires a team that includes practicing clinicians to ensure the technology properly supports safe, effective clinical processes and complements efficient workflows.

Successful implementation involves assessing multiple aspects of communication within and outside the health IT system, the integration of its components with one another and its interaction not only with other technology but also the people, processes, and culture of the organization. Early resolution of potential integration issues can reduce future patient safety risks.

Patient identification processes are also important to consider during implementation. A well-planned configuration alone does not ensure accurate patient identification. An organization implementing a health IT system should consider how its new technology will handle generating new patient records, patient registration, and retrieval of information. Defining and mapping these processes may detect, mitigate, and prevent problems caused by duplicate records, patient mix-ups, and comingled records.

In addition to resources relevant to other aspects of safety in a health IT enabled environment, ONC offers three SAFER Guides that may be particularly useful when implementing a health IT system.

System Configuration

The System Configuration SAFER Guide identifies recommended safety practices for EHR hardware and software set up.

EHR safety and effectiveness can be improved by establishing proper configuration procedures, policies, and practices.



System Interfaces

The System Interfaces SAFER Guide identifies recommended safety practices intended to optimize the safety and safe use of system-to-system interfaces between EHR-related software applications.

Well-designed and well-developed system interfaces enable reliable connection of different systems.



Patient Identification

The Patient Identification SAFER Guide recommends safety practices for reliable patient identification in the EHR.

Accurate patient identification ensures that the information presented by and entered into the EHR is associated with the correct person.