ONC releases new health IT safety reports

Health IT safety isn’t just about protecting electronic health records (EHRs), said two new reports released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

The two external studies summarized recent health IT safety events, identified areas where more research is needed, and collected recommendations for EHR and health IT adoption and implementation from several sources, including the Joint Commission and ONC’s own SAFER guides. In a blog post, ONC’s chief medical information officer, Andrew Gettinger, MD, said the reports highlight the complexities in managing health IT safety.

“Evidence continues to indicate that health IT safety is dependent not just on EHR systems themselves, but on a complex interplay of factors, including an institution’s leadership, culture, readiness, installation practices, training, and handling of upgrades,” Gettinger wrote. “Improving safety requires attention to all of these areas.”

Gettinger also said efforts to increase inoperability brings with the chance to improve data security, and encouraged health IT professionals to go over the recommendations collected in the second report to inform their own safety policies.