ONC Introduces New Plan to Make Reporting IT Hazards Easier

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) officials recently revealed the blue-prints to a new plan, designed to reinforce patient safety initiatives and procedures nationwide. The plan comes as a response to the troublesome number of medical errors that are reported each year.

Officials say the Health IT Patient Safety Action & Surveillance Plan is a product that was predicated on recommendations from 2011 Institute of Medicine report on Health IT and Patient Safety. ONC has developed the Health IT Patient Safety Program, within the Office of the Chief Medical Officer, to direct this endeavor.

“When implemented and used properly, health IT is an important tool in finding and avoiding medical errors and protecting patients. This plan will help us make sure that these new technologies are used to make health care safer.” said National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD, in a press statement.

The plan highlights the responsibilities to be shared across The Department of Health and Human Services (HHC) and outlines considerable activity and involvement from the private sector.

At first glance, some details of the plan include:onc new plan

• ONC will make it easier for clinicians to report health IT-related incidents and hazards through the use of certifiedelectronic health record technology.

• The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will encourage reporting to patient safety organizations and will update its standardized reporting forms to enable ambulatory reporting of health IT events.

• The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will encourage the use of the standardized reporting forms in hospital incident reporting systems, and train surveyors to identify safe and unsafe practices associated with health IT.

•  Working through a public-private process, ONC will develop priorities for improving the safety of health IT. ONC and CMS will consider adopting safety-related objectives, measures, and capabilities for EHRs through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and ONC’s standards and certification criteria.

In order to supplement the plan’s surveillance of safety-related abilities in, ONC also provided leadership Tuesday illuminating that ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies will most likely be able to authenticate whether safety-related capabilities work appropriately in live clinical settings in which they are put into practice.

Additionally, Mostashari also declared ONC has gotten in touch with The Joint Commission in an effort to better identify and actively address potential health IT-related safety issues across a multiplicity of healthcare milieus. The Joint Commission plans to enhance its ability to inspect the role of health IT as a causative factor of undesirable events and will classify high priority areas for anticipated types of health IT-related events.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is a staff division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, primarily focused on implementing an interoperable, private and secure nationwide health information system and supporting the widespread, meaningful use of technology. ONC was created in 2004 through an executive order by President George W. Bush, and was legislatively mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009.