The alert issued recently by The Joint Commission, citing the risks and socio-technical factors leading to health information technology “sentinel” events, has spawned both supporters and detractors.

On the one hand, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT points to the alert as “an objective” finding on the topic of HIT and patient safety that should serve as a “baseline” for future studies. But, critics charge that the alert cites a very limited number of sentinel events reported over a three-year period.

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