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Reporting Adverse Patient Safety Events – 3/6/13

athenahealth proposes patient safety code of conduct

Reporting Adverse Patient Safety EventsHIMSS13 isn’t all about flashy product announcements and schmoozing over cocktails: there are serious healthcare issues to address, and patient safety is at the top of the list.  After all, the ultimate goal of health IT is to keep patients healthier and reduce the potential for life-threatening errors, human or otherwise.  To that end, athenahealth has taken the opportunity to address patient safety head on during the industry’s biggest bash.
Following the release of the Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan in December of 2012, National Coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari challenged EHR vendors to “step up” and develop their own voluntary methods of reporting adverse patient safety events. The five principles outlined in athenahealth’s plan provide a simple framework to help EHR vendors focus on some of the top issues involved in ensuring that health IT doesn’t cause more problems than it hopes to solve.
The core tenants of the code urge vendors to: empower data portability and provider choice, build a true nationwide information backbone, protect patients, prevent fraud, and drive meaningful use.
“These are simple propositions that we think can have a significant impact—if we get broad buy-in from our peer companies and the providers we all serve,” said Dan Haley, VP of Government Affairs, athenahealth. “The principles in the Code squarely address some of the central policy issues facing the HIT industry, providing not only a push to move the industry forward, but also a strong signal to our providers and to government that our industry understands its responsibility to proactively address those issues.”
Vendors, policymakers, stakeholders, and physicians can sign the code of conduct online as well as see other signatories that support the plan as a first step towards instituting a safety reporting framework for the private sector before the government moves in with mandatory rules.  “If you don’t step up, we can always look at more classic regulatory approaches,” Mostashari warned in December.   But with athenahealth taking the lead, it might not come to that.