Four universities--University of Texas, Harvard University, Baylor University and Oregon Health & Science University--are working under a federal contract to develop self-assessment guides to enable providers to score and understand safety issues associated with electronic health records.

Working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the universities expect to release the first iteration of guides in the summer of 2013. They will cover such areas as computerized physician order entry, decision support, communication between patients and physicians, patient identification, timely signing of orders, computer downtime, customization and interfaces, among others. Each guide will have 15 to 25 lists to assess safety, covering issues for use of an EHR function, such as CPOE, in all applicable areas. They will be free and downloadable.

During a roundtable session HIMSS13 in New Orleans, EHR safety advocate Dean Sittig, PhD., a professor at U-Texas School of Biomedical Informatics, will lay out the initiative and its current status, and seek comment from the audience on whether the effort is on the right track. He expects to talk for about 10 minutes and leave the rest of the hour for an interactive roundtable discussion.

Sittig emphasizes this is a listening session with real opportunity to influence the final products, but he wants to leave a final impression: “We like to say the EHR is the most important thing you can use to improve patient safety, but you’ve got to use it correctly to do that.”

Roundtable #307, “New Self-Assessment Guides Help Ensure Safer Electronic Health Records,” is scheduled at 9:45 a.m. on March 6.


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