ONC updates health IT guidelines to improve real-world decision making

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In a March 21 blog post, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced updates to its Safety Assurance Factors for Electronic Health Record Resilience (SAFER) guidelines, aimed at easing safety concerns associated with electronic health records (EHRs).

Initially published in January 2014 and downloaded by approximately 52,000 users to date, the SAFER guidelines address implementation decisions made by clinicians to reduce patient harm caused by EHRs. The guidelines have been recently updated by ONC to include feedback from healthcare providers and EHR vendors regarding best practices.

"The inherent safety of a health IT system depends on the interactive work of software developers, EHR implementers and clinical users of EHRs," wrote Andrew Gettinger, MD, acting deputy national coordinator for health IT at ONC, and colleagues. "All of these stakeholders have a shared responsibility to make, maintain, and use the system safely. Yet, we often hear that the health IT in use today often falls short of users’ expectations."

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