ONC Aims To Reduce Negative Effects of Health IT Adoption

TOPIC ALERT:

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is developing several tools to mitigate the unintended consequences associated with health IT adoption, Bloomberg BNA reports.

Kathy Kenyon -- a senior policy analyst at ONC -- discussed the development of the tools at the recent Health Information Integrity Summit, which was sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association.

Potential Unintended Consequences

According to Kenyon, many health care providers are unprepared for the potentially negative consequences of adopting electronic health record systems and health data exchange technology. Such unintended consequences could include:

  • Patient safety mistakes;
  • Gaps in health IT safety oversight;
  • Legal liabilities and business risks;
  • Lower productivity;
  • Interruptions in communication; and
  • Misalignment with federal or state health IT policy goals.

About ONC's Tools

Kenyon said that ONC is developing tools that would help health care providers anticipate and prepare for unintended consequences before they implement new health IT systems. The resources would include:

  • Academic research;
  • Best practice guides; and
  • Checklists.

Kenyon noted that ONC already has launched a technical expert panel to research unintended consequences related to health IT adoption. In addition, ONC's Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience -- or SAFER team -- is creating patient safety-related checklists and best practices for health care providers in various clinical settings.

ONC also has established three work groups tasked with defining potential problems and best practices related to the implementation of EHR systems, health data exchange tools and consumer health IT products.

According to Kenyon, final reports from the work groups will be available on ONC's website in 2013 (Bologna, Bloomberg BNA, 11/14).

Luissette Figueroa
I think it is a great idea to establish work groups to define potential (and current) problems and best practices related to the implementation of EHR systems.
simran kim
Healthcare IT is really playing vital role in hospitals now a days.

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