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Patient Safety and Health IT: Insights from ECRI

With Patient Safety Awareness Week approaching, I recently sat down with several experts from the ECRI Institute (ECRI).  During our conversation, we discussed ECRI’s founding in 1968 in response to a pediatric safety event and ECRI’s impressive range of research and solutions available today to help improve healthcare safety.

A common theme in our conversation, which will be available on the Allscripts Podcast feed, is a shared understanding that a team effort is required to achieve patient care that is free from harm. Although ECRI’s initial focus was medical devices, its focus has evolved as healthcare has changed and currently includes health information technology solutions like electronic health records (EHRs). Now, with the ever-increasing complexity of healthcare delivery, collaboration is more essential than ever.

Collaborating to support patient safety initiatives

Today ECRI assesses safety risks by bringing together a range of perspectives. Virtual workgroups consisting of patients, clinicians, professional societies, researchers, health IT developers and safety experts assemble to identify common concerns. Beyond identification, the workgroups discuss these priority topics in greater detail, considering causes and potential solutions.

Together, the workgroups gather information and learn from each other. Through their collective expertise and collaboration, the workgroups identify, define and propose solutions to help make healthcare safer.

Health IT is a major safety stakeholder

As health-IT use continues to become more pervasive in healthcare, the role of health-IT developers in achieving system safety continues to expand.

ECRI and Allscripts recognize this reality and work together closely, along with numerous partner stakeholders, to drive continuous improvement in healthcare safety and quality. It’s essential for health IT developers to take an active role in creating high-quality solutions that can improve the safety of patient care.

Looking ahead to safety in the 2020s

Allscripts has been involved with ECRI’s Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety since its inception and remains committed to the significant work of this initiative. In my conversation with ECRI leadership, we drill deeper into their collaborations and the role of technology as a patient-safety enabler.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll release additional portions of the discussion. For Patient Safety Awareness Week, we must all consider what lies ahead in promoting safer and higher-quality care.

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