Last November, the Institute for Medicine (IOM) issued a prepublication copy of a report entitled Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care. According to the press release, the purpose of the report is:
To protect Americans from potential medical errors associated with the use of information technology in patient care, a new report by the Institute of Medicine calls for greater oversight by the public and private sectors. The report examines a broad range of health information technologies, including electronic health records, secure patient portals, and health information exchanges, but not software for medical devices.
The report is the outcome of efforts performed by the Committee on Patient Safety and Health Information Technology “…to review the evidence about the impact of health IT on patient safety and to recommend actions to be taken by both the private and public sectors.” (p. ix). The report provides 10 recommendations, two of which specifically highlight human factors, although several others fall within the realm of the human factors and ergonomics discipline. They are:
Recommendation 5: All health IT vendors should be required to publicly register and list their products with ONC, initially beginning with EHRs certified for the meaningful use program.
Recommendation 10: HHS, in collaboration with other research groups, should support cross-disciplinary research toward the use of health IT as part of a learning health care system. Products of this research should be used to inform the design, testing, and use of health IT. Specific areas of research include: (a) User-centered design and human factors applied to health IT; (b) Safe implementation and use of health IT by all users; (c) Sociotechnical systems associated with health IT; and (d) Impact of policy decisions on health IT use in clinical practice.
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