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In 2013, ECRI Institute convened the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, a multi-stakeholder collaborative whose purpose is to make health information technology (IT) safer together. In the short time since, the Partnership has become the focal point for the collaborative efforts of many groups, including healthcare providers, health IT developers, academic researchers, patient safety organizations, medical malpractice insurers, and professional societies. 

The Partnership is already proving highly successful: it has engaged major stakeholders, established an expert advisory committee, published formal proceedings, captured and analyzed reported data, prioritized health IT safety topics, formed specialized workgroups,  developed a process for creating best practices, and published its first set of recommendations.

Assembling Stakeholders to Achieve Safer Care

Multi-stakeholder collaborative—The Partnership provides a trusted, non-punitive forum for all stakeholders to collect and analyze safety events and hazards, identify and share promising solutions and best practices, and inform policymakers and the broader healthcare community about priorities for health IT safety. It includes clinical users, healthcare providers, EHR/health IT developers and vendors, safety researchers, patient safety organizations, professional associations, medical specialty societies, malpractice insurers, and others.

View some of the collaborating organizations.

Together We Will Make Health IT Safer

Expert advisory panelThe distinguished panel of experts participating on the advisory panel includes:

  • David W. Bates, MD, MSc, Brigham and Women’s Hospital 
  • Pascale Carayon, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering
  • Tejal Gandhi, MD, MPH, National Patient Safety Foundation
  • Terhilda Garrido, MPH, ELP, Kaiser Permanente
  • Omar Hasan, MBBS, MPH, MS, FACP, American Medical Association
  • Chris Lehmann, MD, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • Peter J. Pronovost, MD, PhD, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
  • Jeanie Scott, MS, VHA Office of Informatics and Analytics/Health Informatics
  • Patricia P. Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS, Bon Secours Health System, Inc.
  • Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center 
  • Dean Sittig, PhD, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Biomedical Informatics
  • Paul Tang, MD, MS, Palo Alto Medical Foundation-Sutter Health

Health IT Safe Practices: Copy and Paste—Tejal Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, president and chief executive officer of the National Patient Safety Foundation, chaired a Partnership multi-stakeholder workgroup that identified the unsafe aspects of copy and paste in the electronic health record. The following materials are now available:

Workgroup "Safe Practices: Patient Identification"—The next workgroup was launched on October 16, 2015, and will focus on doing a deep dive of over 10,000 patient safety events reported to ECRI Institute PSO.

"Partnering for TransformationMaking a Positive Impact"—The next in-person meeting is scheduled for September 16, 2016.

"Partnering for Action: Applying What We’ve Learned"—The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety’s second in-person meeting was held on October 16, 2015. This interactive meeting reported on the Partnership’s progress, and provided an opportunity for participants to design solutions and share practices for advancing the safety of health IT. Proceedings from this meeting are publicly available.

"Partnering for Success," 2014 in-person meetingThe first in-person meeting was hosted by ECRI Institute and sponsored by the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health and Policy in September 2014 for participants in the Partnership. Proceedings and videos from this meeting are publicly available.

Quarterly conference calls of Partnership participants:

  • 2014: April 7, and July 24
  • 2015: January 20, May 19, and July 28
  • 2016: January 19, April 26, and July 19

Collecting and Analyzing Health IT Safety Events and Hazards

The Partnership collects safety events, hazards and investigation data in a confidential and protected manner through a patient safety organization. It provides a password-protected web portal for submitting reports. It also conducts surveys, evidence reviews, and other efforts to gather important safety data.

Data are analyzed and shared through publications, meetings, tools, and other venues.

Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety UpdateNewsletters sent to Partnership participants:

ECRI Institute PSO Deep Dive: Health Information TechnologyMinimizing the unintended consequences of health IT systems and maximizing the potential of health IT to improve patient safety should be an ongoing focus of every healthcare organization. ECRI Institute PSO members, and now the general public, can use the findings and recommendations in this Deep Dive analysis as part of their effort to achieve those goals.

How to Identify and Address Unsafe Conditions Associated with Health ITAn ONC white paper intended to help healthcare organizations lay the foundation for a process to identify health IT hazards, using both internal and external resources written by ECRI Institute and Partnership participants.

Ongoing collection of dataThrough our portal, protected under ECRI Institute PSO.

Sharing Solutions and Best Practices

Compilation video of Partnership leadersThey discuss improving health IT safety through the ongoing collection of adverse events, collaborative learning, and creation of health IT-related resources. Published on Jan 21, 2015.

Patient safety movement video: Partnering on Health IT: Patient SafetyRonni Solomon emphasized the importance of working together with fellow participants. (Watch the 32-minute presentation)

H&HN video: How Health IT Impacts Patient SafetyHear Ronni Solomon, executive vice president and general counsel at ECRI Institute, discuss the partnership. (Watch 3-minute video)

ECRI Institute press releases about health IT safety and the Partnership:

Informing the National Strategy

Partnership participants help to shape "Health IT Safety Center Roadmap" and steps forwardThe ONC just released the Health IT Safety Center Roadmap: Collaborate on Solutions, Informed by Evidence, a plan that defines the Center’s focus, functions, governance, and value. The ONC contracted with RTI International to convene a task force of health IT safety experts, patient advocates, clinician users, health IT developers, healthcare organizations, and others relying upon their insights in crafting the Roadmap.

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 the task force and steering committee. The Roadmap task force included several other members of the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety Expert Advisory Panel, 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 from AMA; and Marilyn Neder Flack from AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation Foundation), one of the Partnership’s Collaborating Organizations.

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” echoing what was stressed by the task force. Sittig and Singh noted the work of the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety supported by the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation (JKTG) for Health and Policy to be a “promising approach” that “should be adopted by others if successful.”

The report’s theme—“collaborate on solutions, informed by evidence”— captures the main focus of the proposed Center. The Partnership is achieving this through data collection, analysis, single-topic solution-focused workgroups, disseminating learnings and through regular meetings of the Partnership.

ECRI Institute provided comments to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the proposed strategy and recommendations for a risk-based framework described in the FDASIA Health IT Report. The FDASIA report does a balanced job of creating a national framework that addresses safety and innovation. Read the FDASIA Health IT Report and  ECRI Institute's comments.

Goals of the Partnership

The Partnership strives to build upon the recommendations set forth by recent reports; it has no regulatory or enforcement powers. Rather in this non-punitive learning environment the focus can be on health IT patient safety and utilizing health IT to provide enhanced quality care.

In order to fulfill these goals, the Partnership will:

  • Study health IT-related events and hazards to generate new knowledge
  • Identify and share promising solutions and best practices
  • Work with health IT vendors, providers and provider organizations, patient safety organizations, practice experts, industry leaders, and associations
  • Evaluate the use of safety reporting systems, including two existing electronic reporting taxonomies: the Health IT Hazard Manager and the AHRQ Common Formats
  • Allow policymakers and the broader healthcare community to learn more about the barriers and challenges associated with building a safety reporting system for health IT and an eventual center for health IT safety

Convening experts and all stakeholders to make health IT safer together

Check out our expert advisory panel and collaborating organizations.


For More Information or to Join the Partnership,

Contact Lorraine Possanza at or (610) 825-6000, ext. 5634.