The Institute of Medicine will conduct a one-year study of the safety of health information technology systems under a $989,000 contract from the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The study will cover a range of patient safety issues, such as preventing I.T.-related errors and rapid reporting of safety issues. Other components of the study will:

* Consider potential effects of government regulation and private sector initiatives to maximize safety,

* Summarize existing knowledge of the effects of health I.T. on safety,

* Identify approaches to promote safety-enhancing features in the technology,

* Identify approaches for preventing I.T.-related safety problems and surveillance initiatives to quickly find and correct problems,

* Address potential roles of private sector certification programs, patient safety organizations and trade associations, and

* Examine existing and potential roles for federal agencies, particularly those in the Department of Health and Human Services.

--Joseph Goedert


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