AMIA Paper Looks to Reduce EHR-Related Medical Errors

AMIA Position Paper on Improving EHR Usability

AMIA Position Paper Makes 10 Recommendations for Improving EHR Usability

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is a non-profit membership and scientific association providing leadership in the transformation of healthcare through informatics. The organization has just issued a paper calling for the reduction of EHR-related medical errors by improving usability. Enhancing patient safety and quality of care by improving the usability of electronic health record systems: recommendations from AMIA was published on the organization’s peer reviewed journal, JAMIA.

In the AMIA paper the organization lays out its recommendations for improving EHR usability for four key players: the ONC, EHR vendors, providers and the academic community. AMIA convened a task force to study usability and examine evidence of medical errors due to EHRs.  From the Abstract:

In response to mounting evidence that use of electronic medical record systems may cause unintended consequences, and even patient harm, the AMIA Board of Directors convened a Task Force on Usability to examine evidence from the literature and make recommendations. This task force was composed of representatives from both academic settings and vendors of electronic health record (EHR) systems. After a careful review of the literature and of vendor experiences with EHR design and implementation, the task force developed 10 recommendations in four areas: (1) human factors health information technology (IT) research, (2) health IT policy, (3) industry recommendations, and (4) recommendations for the clinician end-user of EHR software. These AMIA recommendations are intended to stimulate informed debate, provide a plan to increase understanding of the impact of usability on the effective use of health IT, and lead to safer and higher quality care with the adoption of useful and usable EHR systems.

The AMIA task force looked at a number of health IT issues including:

  • Safe and effective use of EHRs
  • EHR Usability
  • EHR Usability associated with medical errors
The AMIA papers outlines 10 recommendations, acknowledging that the recommendations do not address every aspect of the safe and effective sue of EHRs. AMIA concludes: “The recommendations are necessarily wide ranging, and the Task Force on Usability recognizes and appreciates the attention that these issues are already receiving from end-users, vendors, and several federal agencies such as the ONC. Nevertheless, the essential recommendation and next step is that these diverse activities already underway become more coordinated to collectively address the AMIA recommendations described in this article.”

Read the full position paper on the JAMIA website.