ECRI: 10 ways to cut health IT risks

Nonprofit offers its best strategies in new report
By Bernie Monegain
10:12 AM

ECRI Institute, an independent, nonprofit organization that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, has released a new report, Risk Managers’ 10 Strategies for Health IT Success.

Based on ECRI’s research and interviews with risk managers and health IT safety experts, it identifies top tips to guide a risk management approach to health IT.

[See also: ECRI to rate medical devices.]

"Health IT is on nearly every healthcare organization’s radar screen. And it will continue to be for the next few years as organizations move to electronic health records," Cindy Wallace, senior risk management analyst, said in a news release. "We recognize that bringing these systems online is a massive team effort. Risk management input is essential."

“Risk management principles should be applied to all stages of the health IT project and should not be considered only at the end when there’s a problem,” says Karen P. Zimmer, medical director, ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization.

The 10 strategies outlined in the report are to:

1.  Be involved from the start
2.  Adopt an enterprise-wide perspective
3.  Get to know the IT department
4.  Tout your problem-solving skills
5.  Pay attention to known high-risk areas
6.  Be the documentation champion
7.  Ensure monitoring of the EHR system rollout and use
8.  Recognize health IT’s double-edge sword
9.  Design a process to capture health IT events
10. Use health IT systems for quality and safety improvement.

Along with the top 10 health IT success strategies, ECRI Institute has developed a toolkit, which was published with the results from ECRI Institute PSO’s Deep Dive analysis of health IT events, and can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization’s risk management approach to health IT and to focus on those areas requiring attention, Zimmer says.

[See also: ECRI releases C-suite watchlist of top 10 hospital technology issues.]

As a nod to Healthcare Risk Management Week, ECRI is making the report available free of charge June 17-21, 2013. It can be downloaded here.