Connectivity and Patient Safety—Perspectives from the HIMSS Conference

April 1, 2012 | Evaluations & Guidance


As discussed in this Guidance Article, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is causing many hospitals in the United States to fast-track their efforts to implement electronic medical records (EMRs). A great deal of money is at stake—facilities that meet the deadlines for achieving meaningful use of EMRs will receive HITECH’s incentive payments, and those that don’t meet the deadlines face monetary penalties. The benefits to be gained from an industry switchover to electronic records are substantial and promise greater efficiency, more reliable data, and even safer patients. But making the switch is complicated and difficult—and it may actually pose unanticipated risks to patients, particularly if the process isn’t carefully thought through.

Not surprisingly, medical device connectivity with EMRs was among the topics discussed at the 2012 conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), held February 20 to 24 in Las Vegas. This annual conference, which focuses on developments in healthcare IT, includes product exhibits and educational sessions and is attended by vendors, hospitals, and others in the healthcare industry. Several Health Devices staff members went to the...

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