MedStar Health, Pew call for focus on EHR safety, usability in reporting program survey 

Columbia, Md.-based MedStar Health and the Pew Charitable Trusts penned a letter Aug. 10 to left-leaning think tank the Urban Institute asking it to include additional questions about usability and safety to ONC’s provider survey on EHR reporting.

ONC contracted with the Urban Institute to develop the provider survey as part of the federal government’s EHR reporting program under the 21st Century Cures Act. Cures required ONC to establish the EHR reporting program to collect health IT information from tech developers. ONC will then collect the data and publish it to its website to promote transparency.

In addition to inquiring about health IT lifecycles and deployments in facilities, the survey should also ask EHR developers about functions, performance and practices relative to system usability and safety, according to the letter.

“EHRs affect and can improve nearly every aspect of patient care, yet when problems occur, they can be devastating—even deadly. The proposed survey represents the first step in leveraging the EHR reporting program to collect data to improve usability, and ultimately safety,” the letter states. “Urban should further build out the survey to provide a more detailed focus on safety and usability and to assess high-risk functions for potential harm.”

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