Clinicians key when assessing EHR safety

Clinicians key when assessing EHR safety

Having the right team in place when conducting SAFER assessments should ensure a smoother process.

– It's been less than a year since the Department of Health and Human Services implemented a new measure to the Protect Patient Health Information objective requiring eligible hospitals and critical-access hospitals to complete an annual assessment of Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience Guides. Dr. Dean Sittig, a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, worked on the SAFER Guides, and on Monday, during his session "Using SAFER Guides to Conduct a Self-Assessment of EHR Safety" at HIMSS22 in Orlando, he gave suggestions on how to conduct the assessments – and stressed the importance of clinician involvement. Per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the annual assessments begin with the electronic health record reporting period this year, which Sittig called an important milestone in health IT safety policy, one that affects nearly every hospital in the country. When crafting SAFER Guides and doing assessments, it's best, said Sittig, to have clinicians and support staff on the team, as well as administrators and at least one representative from the EHR's developer, since they're the ones who put the coding system behind the user interface. "You'll want to have people from other parts of the hospital and ancillary systems," said Sittig. Ideally, the vendor will have made an EHR implementation guide; if they haven't, the hospital should ask them to, Sittig said. As a failsafe, the assessment team should apprise the hospital governance board, Sittig said.




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