HIMSS: Don't Let HIT Obscure Patient Safety Needs

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , February 23, 2012

Today, Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is expected to release its long-awaited proposal for rules governing Meaningful Use Stage 2, even as many providers are filing their last pages of paperwork to receive millions in incentive payments under Stage 1.

Big names on the agenda have been packing in audiences all week, including Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari, MD; and the CEOs of the Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, and Intermountain Healthcare.

But against this backdrop of feathers and flourish, one particular speaker's late afternoon talk was sobering, and his points deserve a mention lest they get lost amidst the glitz.


HIT's Quality Problem
The speaker was quality thought leader David Classen, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah, infectious disease specialist, and a member of the committee that wrote the November report from the Institute of Medicine: HIT and Patient Safety: Safer Systems, Better Care

The report listed 10 recommendations for improving patient safety through health IT, and making sure that those systems don't create more safety hazards and calls for the Congress or the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary to take numerous actions, such as create a Health IT Safety Council as well as a new independent agency to investigate patient "deaths, serious injuries, or potentially unsafe conditions associated with health IT."

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