H. Stephen Lieber -- president and CEO of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society -- has released a statement commenting on the recent Institute of Medicine report on patient safety and health IT, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 11/11).
Background on IOM Report
In its report, IOM recommended that HHS create and fund a new, independent watchdog agency to investigate health IT safety issues, rather than give such authority to FDA.
The report also states that health IT vendors should be required to report adverse events associated with their products. Health care providers could voluntarily report health IT-related safety issues, according to IOM (iHealthBeat, 11/8).
Details of Lieber's Statement
In his statement, Lieber called the IOM report a "notable contribution" to health IT safety efforts, but emphasized that electronic health records can benefit patient safety.
Lieber said he agrees with IOM's assertion that a paper-based health record system "substantially constrains the country's ability to reform health care" (Modern Healthcare, 11/11). He added that paper-based health records have "deficiencies in failing to portray a full and up-to-the-minute picture of patients' conditions and care" (HIMSS statement, 11/10).
Lieber noted that HIMSS' 2011-2012 Public Policy Principles call for HHS to launch patient safety initiatives that are similar to those recommended in IOM's report.
According to HIMSS, patient safety initiatives should aim to:
- Develop ways to identify and prevent unintended consequences related to the use of health IT tools; and
- Fund "human factors" research to develop EHR usability guidelines (Modern Healthcare, 11/11).