Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has sent letters to 31 hospitals seeking more information about their experiences and concerns with health IT systems, Modern Healthcare reports.
The request follows up on similar letters that Grassley sent in October 2009 when he asked health IT vendors to describe problems with their software systems.
Grassley said he wanted more information about current shortcomings in the health IT sector as the federal government works to implement the health IT provisions included in the 2009 federal economic stimulus package (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 1/20).
In both sets of letters, Grassley asked whether health IT vendor contracts include "gag orders" to prevent hospitals from sharing information about faulty systems.
Grassley also asked whether vendor contracts address liability issues for cases in which health IT system malfunctions could adversely affect patient safety (Goldstein, "Health Blog," Wall Street Journal, 1/20).
In addition, Grassley inquired whether health IT vendors offer financial incentives to encourage hospitals to purchase their technology.
He also expressed concern that no national regulatory body currently monitors product errors and adverse events associated with health IT systems (Shulte/Schwartz, Huffington Post Investigative Fund, 1/20).
The full text of Grassley's letter and a list of the hospital recipients are available in a press release from the senator's office (Office of Sen. Grassley release, 1/20).