Health Information Technology Safety Framework Needed To Measure, Improve Patient Safety — BMJ Quality and Safety Commentary
The proliferation of health information technology (IT) has created new safety concerns and the potential for unintended consequences. In light of these concerns, a new commentary by AHRQ-funded researchers proposes the creation of a health IT safety (HITS) framework to provide a foundation for patient safety measurement, monitoring and improvement. This foundation is needed, authors stated, to refine the science of measuring health IT-related patient safety, make health IT-related patient safety an organizational priority by securing commitment from organizational leadership, and develop an environment conducive to detecting, fixing and learning from system vulnerabilities. The HITS measurement framework follows continuous quality improvement and sociotechnical approaches. It calls for new measurement strategies to address safety concerns in three related domains: (1) concerns unique and specific to technology; (2) concerns created by the failure to use health IT appropriately or by misuse of health IT; and (3) the use of health IT to monitor risks, health care processes and outcomes and to identify potential safety concerns before they can harm patients. The commentary, “Measuring and Improving Patient Safety Through Health Information Technology: The Health IT Safety Framework,” appeared in the September issue ofBMJ Quality and Safety.