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World Patient Safety Day & Allscripts Patient Safety Program

Allscripts, along with the World Health Organization, is excited to celebrate World Patient Safety Day on Sept. 17, 2020. The goals of World Patient Safety Day are to enhance global understanding of patient safety, reinforce healthcare worker safety, increase public engagement in healthcare and promote actions to reduce patient harm.

These are commendable goals that Allscripts strives to embrace each day. Allscripts Patient Safety Program uses a comprehensive socio-technical systems-based approach to identify, analyze, evaluate and mitigate clinical risk in all aspects of our software development, deployment, and support activities. Our focus is on all domains of the Health IT Safety Framework: Health Information Technology (HIT) Safety, the Safe Use of HIT, and Using HIT to Improve Safety.

Identifying, documenting and advocating for “Safe Practice Recommendations”

“Using HIT to Improve Safety” is the domain that enables Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs) and other HIT to truly realize their potential to improve the clinician experience and make the practice of healthcare safer and more effective for clinicians and their patients.

One area where Allscripts focuses in support of this relates to identifying, documenting and advocating for “Safe Practice Recommendations” (or “SPRs”). SPRs address topics with potential benefit to HIT Safety by providing focused recommendations based on thorough analysis of industry trends, regulatory and policy updates and (most importantly) patient safety research. SPRs provide a comprehensive set of safety recommendations related to a given topic that can then be used by product developers, testers, implementation specialists and others to help drive specific actions and/or functionality. Where feasible, SPRs might also drive a common infrastructure that can then be used across the entire Allscripts portfolio to provide consistent safe practice.

The importance of proper patient matching

A current SPR under development relates to the complex and evolving subject of patient matching. Proper patient identification and matching has long been a source of patient safety hazards and has been a focus of Patient Safety Advocacy groups such as the Joint Commission, Pew Research, and ECRI.

The importance of proper patient matching will only intensify as HIT becomes more interoperable and evolves to an environment where we are able to provide a more accurate and extensive longitudinal patient view. The foundation of this longitudinal patient view is the assurance that all aspects of the patient record, gathered from multiple sources, are all related to the proper patient.

Patient matching, when done correctly, is a very complex and intensive activity. A series of recent ONC Patient Identity and Matching Working Sessions highlighted the technical complexity and critical privacy and security implications. Beyond existing challenges, there is promise from ongoing discussions about providing relief to restrictions that have hindered the development of unique health identifiers for patients. These sessions (as well as other analyses) have properly emphasized how these identifiers will not be a “silver bullet” and will likely need to be used in conjunction with other existing patient identification and matching practices to improve their accuracy and effectiveness.

While implementing the goals of World Patient Safety Day are part of daily activity at Allscripts, items such as Safe Practice Recommendations are specific examples of focused activities to promote these goals by improving the clinician experience and enabling high quality patient care.

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