ECRI Identifies Strategies to Guide Risk Managers on Health IT Approach

ECRI Names Top 10 Health IT Success Strategies to Manage Risks

Latest ECRI Institute Report Names Top 10 Health IT Success Strategies to Manage Risks

The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing applied scientific research to enable improvement of patient care. The organization is a designated Evidence-Based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and listed as a federal Patient Safety Organization by HHS. Last Friday the organization released it latest research report, Risk Managers’ 10 Strategies for Health IT Success.

Using research and interviews with risk managers and health IT safety experts, the ECRI report identifies the top 10 strategies to guide a risk management approach to health IT. “Health IT is on nearly every healthcare organization’s radar screen. And it will continue to be for the next few years as organizations move to electronic health records,” states Cindy Wallace, senior risk management analyst. “We recognize that bringing these systems online is a massive team effort. Risk management input is essential.”

The top 10 strategies detailed in the report are:

  1. Be involved from the start
  2. Adopt an enterprise-wide perspective
  3. Get to know the IT department
  4. Tout your problem-solving skills
  5. Pay attention to known high-risk areas
  6. Be the documentation champion
  7. Ensure monitoring of the EHR system rollout and use
  8. Recognize health IT’s double-edge sword
  9. Design a process to capture health IT events
  10. Use health IT systems for quality and safety improvement.

From the report:

Converting to EHR systems is a “huge change in the way healthcare is delivered,” says Dean F. Sittig, Ph.D., professor, School of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Sittig, a clinical informaticist, has conducted extensive research on how to safely implement EHR systems to ensure they promote safe care and do not cause errors, the so-called “unintended consequences” of health IT that can result, for example, from system malfunctions, inadequate data transfer across system interfaces, and poorly configured systems that contribute to user mistakes. A full-fledged EHR system with clinical decision support, electronic order entry, and bar-code scanners can change 30% to 40% of an average clinician’s workflow processes, Sittig says. “We are changing the way healthcare works. There will be issues.”

You can read more from Dr. Sittig in an article he co-wrote last and published for the New England Journal of Medicine, Electronic Health Records and National Patient-Safety Goals

Read and download this free ECRI report here.