The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety (Partnership) is in a unique position to help inform the national strategy for health IT safety and the innovative use of health IT to promote safety. Through multi-stakeholder collaboration, the Partnership has worked with the various stakeholders including vendors, providers, and patient advocates to identify and prioritize issues that impact safety. It is through these collaborative learnings that issues will be identified and resources appropriately directed. The three-pronged approach of data collection, analysis, and shared learnings has provided a foundation as the Partnership continues to expand and now moves to facilitate implementation of these safe practices.
Collecting, Analyzing, and Learning from Health IT Events
The Partnership continues to collect safety events, hazards, and investigation data in a confidential and protected manner through the protections afforded to ECRI Institute's patient safety organization (PSO). Information is collected through a password-protected web portal to accommodate standard and non-standard safety-reporting. The work and recommendations are enhanced by gathering information from participants via surveys, quarterly meetings, and focused workgroups. Additionally structured evidence reviews are conducted and information is gathered from other organizations and participants in order to facilitate health IT safety. Information gathered from the data that are analyzed are shared through publications, meetings, tools, and other venues.
Health IT Safety Center Roadmap
Partnership participants also helped to shape the 2015 Office of the National Coordinator project conducted by RTI, which resulted in a Health IT Safety Center Roadmap: Collaborate on Solutions, Informed by Evidence. As part of the work the task force determined the steps forward, defining a plan that looks at the Center's focus, functions, governance, as well as its value.
The task force identified many health IT safety-related activities for the national center to support. Ronni Solomon, JD, executive vice president and general counsel, ECRI Institute, participated on that task force and its steering committee. The task force also included several other members of the Partnership's Expert Advisory Panel and collaborators, including Tejal Gandhi, MD, MPH, National Patient Safety Foundation; Dean F. Sittig, PhD, School of Biomedical Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX; Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center; Dr. Steven Stack, AMA; and Marilyn Neder Flack, AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation Foundation).
In examining the roadmap in their July 21, 2015, Health Affairs article, The Health IT Safety Center Roadmap: What's Next?, Dean Sittig and Hardeep Singh commented on the next steps forward saying, "Safe and effective implementation and use of health IT within a complex adaptive healthcare system is a monumental, sociotechnical challenge." They noted also that it is important to have "trusted space where stakeholders [can] convene to review evidence and jointly develop solutions to critical health IT safety issues." This is what the Partnership aims to do. Sittig and Singh noted the work of the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety to be a "promising approach" that "should be adopted by others if successful."
The Partnership continues to grow and expand in learning more about the issues and their impact. The growth of the Partnership is possible, in part, through new grant funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. With this generous support, implementation of safe practices and the embedding of a health IT safety culture will be possible. It is only through such support and the continued collaboration of all stakeholders that any successes and learnings will be sustained.