Although enhanced patient engagement is a major goal for health professionals across the health care industry, patient safety is also a concern. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has addressed this by releasing its roadmap for the Health IT Safety Center. The new roadmap identifies solutions to issues that some providers are facing with patient safety.
New roadmap focuses on solutions
The new roadmap suggests that the Health IT Safety Center is key to ensuring that while health IT is interoperable, it also protects patients’ health information. Providers should be able to reap the benefits of electronic health records without worrying about potential safety threats.
The Health IT Safety Center was developed during the creation of a Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act.
“The report characterized the creation of such a collaborative effort as ‘critical’ to reducing the need for a more regulatory approach and to strengthening a non-regulatory framework for health IT safety based in the private sector,” ONC officials stated in the roadmap.
According to FierceHealthIT, there are two main objectives that the Health IT Safety Center was designed to achieve. The center serves as a reliable site for health professionals from both the private and public sectors to help the industry progress toward these two goals: enhancing the safety of EHRs that currently are not performing well and to ensure that patient care is safer when providers use health IT.
5 characteristics for success
The information that the roadmap offers includes multiple focuses that the new center should prioritize to help advance the industry.
- Commitment to patients and clinicians – The center’s main priority will be to cater to the providers who care for patients in a health system that revolves around family. Figuring out ways in which clinicians can easily access any resources available that will help them to use their health IT safely is crucial. They should also be trained to use these systems safely with the appropriate support.
- Development of a public-private partnership – Federal government representatives and stakeholders within the private sector will have a forum in the center where they can talk and work together to establish solutions for patient safety. To support the center’s activities, there will be federal funding. Over time, financial contributions by private stakeholders will be secured to support the center’s operations.
- A focus on shared learning and responsibility – Individuals in all sectors of the health care industry can use the center as a place to communicate ideas and share resources and evidence solutions. All participants will work toward the ultimate goal of making health IT safe for patients.
- Prioritize solutions – One of the main priorities of the center will be to encourage stakeholders to develop solutions with the help of evidence of safety risks related to the use of health IT. The stakeholders should also focus on strategies to pilot test these solutions and identify new ones to adopt. Success will be evaluated after the testing of each potential solution to determine any areas for improvement.
- An open platform – The activities performed and ideas developed within the center should be done so in a transparent and open space where stakeholders can trust the system. This will also help to establish and foster accountability.
The ONC highlights four main activities later in the roadmap: the development of reports that show evidence of safety and improved solutions for health IT, the encouragement of education in regard to implementing health IT safety strategies, addressing any safety-related events, and the adoption of enhancements that assist stakeholders in communicating details of these safety-related events.