Healthcare Business News
H. Stephen Lieber

HIMSS' Lieber responds to IOM report

By Joseph Conn
Posted: November 11, 2011 - 12:00 pm ET

H. Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, went to bat for health information technology in a response to the Institute of Medicine's report (PDF) this week on patient-safety issues created by the use of computerized medical-record systems.

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Lieber was diplomatic in his prepared statement, released Thursday, characterizing the report as "a notable contribution" to safety efforts, but the HIMSS message accentuated the positive attributes of health IT and said that the "paper-based health system kills." Lieber also quoted the IOM in repeating that paper-based record-keeping "substantially constrains the country's ability to reform healthcare."

The HIMSS leader's statement also referred to the organization's recent policy statement that called on HHS "to launch patient-safety initiatives, many of which align with the recommendations made in the IOM report."

According to HIMSS, such initiatives would include:
  • "Developing strategies to identify and prevent unintended consequences from EHR functionality and other integrated health IT."
  • "Launching a patient-safety initiative for health IT that (1) takes into account the importance of innovation through the development and implementation of EHR technology and (2) supports the dissemination and incorporation of lessons learned on unintended consequences to enable enhanced patient safety and to minimize adverse events."
  • Funding "human factors" research targeting EHR functions such as ordering, documentation and decision support "to develop evidence-based usability guidelines for EHRs" that would "greatly enhance the safety of care."
HIMSS also maintains that usability "must be aligned with clinical work flow to avoid the risk for patient-safety errors and must include all clinical stakeholders in the testing process," according to Lieber.

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