The nation's health IT czar, responding to the early release Tuesday of the Institute of Medicine's report on patient-safety issues linked to the use of healthcare information technology, said IT glitches should not overshadow IT systems' contributions toward improving patient safety.
Mostashari responds to IOM report
"We are hopeful that today's report will serve to strengthen health IT systems and enable EHRs to make their full contribution toward safer, better quality care for Americans," said Dr. Farzad Mostashari, head of HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in a blog post.
Mostashari said HHS "appreciates the thoughtful work" of the IOM and noted that the report was commissioned by the ONC "as part of our long-term strategy to make safety efforts a top priority" in support of the adoption of electronic health-record systems.
And while the report points out that "some of the complexities associated with EHRs have introduced new risks into the system," it also recognizes EHR safety successes, such as a significant reduction in patient medication errors, according to Mostashari. The report "also highlights the importance of health IT to continuously improving healthcare quality and safety by rapidly and reliably flagging potential patient-safety risks and preventing adverse events in the clinical setting," Mostashari said.
In response to an IOM recommendation, Mostashari said, the ONC will lead an HHS effort "to develop a comprehensive EHR safety action and surveillance plan." The ONC will collaborate on the initiative with the FDA, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institutes of Health and the CMS as well as with players in the broader healthcare community, he said.
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