Potential Benefits and Pitfalls of Health IT Discussed at Cassatt Symposium

May 8, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Health information technology (IT), the focus of the April 24, 2013, Cassatt RRG Holding Company’s symposium Healthcare Information Technology and You: The Journey, the Challenges, and the Rewards, can have many benefits, but healthcare workers must remain vigilant in looking for potential errors that may be introduced because of the technology. Erin Sparnon, M.Eng. , senior patient safety analyst, Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, spoke about the Authority’s December 2012 paper “The Role of the Electronic Health Record in Patient Safety Events,” which found numerous issues surrounding the use of electronic health records (EHRs), such as incorrect data entry. While clinical decision support, such as alerts that an entry may be incorrect, is intended to reduce these types of errors, Sparnon stated that sometimes it may not be the caregiver who enters data into the EHR. A pharmacy technician or unit clerk, for example, may enter data, and these errors may not be as obvious to allied health workers, an issue facilities may not have addressed. Guidance specifically for allied health professionals regarding EHRs is available from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Adam Wright, Ph.D., senior scientist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, discussed trends in health IT.

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