Hospitalists Can Help SHM Improve Health IT Systems

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued the report Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care in November 2011. SHM considers this a landmark report that serves as a call to action to improve the health information technology (HIT) systems used daily to deliver on the promise of safer, more efficient care. SHM’s IT Committee and IT Policy Committee carefully reviewed this report and have released a letter in support of its findings. SHM encourages its members to read the IOM report (www.iom.edu) or the summary of the report.

In support of the report, SHM highlighted the following:

Health IT Facts

For more information about health information technology and policy, visit www.hospitalmedicine.org/advocacy.

  • SHM specifically supports a call for safety transparency; a mandatory reporting mechanism for vendors; a voluntary reporting mechanism for providers to report unsafe conditions in electronic health records (EHRs) and adverse events; and the elimination of nondisclosure clauses.
  • SHM supports the need for additional research to guide the design and implementation of EHR, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems, and clinical-decision-support (CDS) systems, including usability and expanded functionality.
  • SHM supports the need for HIT education at all levels of the healthcare system from providers to vendors to include quality/safety science and process improvement.
  • SHM echoes the need for interoperability, not only for data exchange, but also for CDS tools and for liquidity of data to allow new product incomers into the market and the ability to move between vendors.
  • SHM believes in dual accountability between vendors and providers in HIT products to help motivate the industry to more quickly improve the safety and usability of products.
  • SHM is moving ahead on these areas independently and believes that hospitalists are well positioned to be involved in achieving these goals. To assist members in their efforts, the IT Education Committee is working on in-person and online HIT educational venues for SHM members. SHM’s Health IT Quality Committee is organizing collaboratives around CDS and quality innovation sharing. The Health Quality and Patient Safety Committee continues to discuss the safety of IT systems and methods to improve them. SHM’s mentored implementation programs are engaging directly with vendors to try to build products and the functionality needed around glycemic control, care transitions, and VTE prophylaxis.
  • SHM believes that its members can be involved in the research to answer many of the important questions that are unresolved in HIT. Please contact SHM to ensure that the organization is representing your needs in this important area. The current situation is a long way from the full potential HIT can provide, and SHM is committed to helping its members and the industry in moving to the next level.

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