IOM to Launch HIT Study

John Commins, October 4, 2010

The Institute of Medicine will conduct a one-year study to determine if health information technology will achieve its full potential for improving patient safety in healthcare. The study will be carried out under a $989,000 contract from the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

"Since 1999, when the IOM published its ground-breaking study To Err Is Human, the Institute has been a leader in the movement to improve patient safety," said David Blumenthal, MD, national coordinator for HIT. "This study will draw on IOM?s depth of knowledge in this area to help all of us ensure that HIT reaches the goals we are seeking for patient safety improvement."

The study will examine patient safety-related issues, including prevention of HIT-related errors and rapid reporting of any HIT-related patient safety issues.  It will make recommendations concerning the potential effects of government policies and private sector actions in maximizing patient safety and avoiding medical errors through HIT. The study will:

  • Summarize existing knowledge of the effects of HIT on patient safety;
  • Identify approaches to promote the safety-enhancing features of HIT while protecting patients from safety problems associated with HIT;
  • Identify approaches for preventing HIT-related patient safety problems before they occur;
  • Identify surveillance and reporting strategies for rapid detection and correction of patient safety problems;
  • Address the roles of private sector accrediting and certification bodies, and patient safety organizations and professional and trade associations;
  • Discuss roles for key federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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