IOM study encourages more accountability in health IT
November 17, 2011
As part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is encouraging the use of electronic health records and other health information technologies across different providers, including home care. With the American healthcare system moving toward adopting these platforms, a new study released by the Institute of Medicine encourages greater accountability from consumers.
"To protect patients, industry and government have a shared responsibility to ensure greater transparency, accountability and reporting of health IT-related medical errors," Gail Warden, chair of the committee that wrote the report, said in a press release. The study examined electronic health records, secure patient portals, and health information exchanges, but not medical device software.
The federal government believes that such technology can help reduce various costs in healthcare, including storage space and unnecessary medical procedures, because of better coordination of patient care.
However, there is no established research to characterize patient safety under these platforms.
The IOM recommends the founding of a new Health IT Safety Council to help ensure patient safety. Furthermore, vendors should encourage customers to share patient safety concerns.
This study was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which the IOM says should formulate a plan within the next year to work with the private sector in addressing these issues. Otherwise, the Food and Drug Administration should exercise its authority, according to the report.