ONC Updates Guides for Safer EHR Use

ONC_HealthIT_GOV300The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has published updated guidelines designed to assist healthcare providers assess the safety and functionality of their electronic health record systems.

Introduced in January 2014, the ONC Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience, or SAFER Guides, are voluntary self-assessments, including checklists and evidence-based recommendations for optimizing safe use of technology. Best practices described within the new guidelines for safe EHR use are categorized under nine specified areas:

  • High-priority practices
  • Organizational responsibilities
  • Contingency planning
  • System configuration
  • System interfaces
  • Patient identification
  • Computerized provider order entry with decision support
  • Test results reporting and follow-up
  • Clinician communication

One key addition to the updated resource is the inclusion of a Contingency Planning Guide intended to provide direction when facilities experience unplanned issues with their IT systems such as EHR system pauses, cyber attacks, and total system failures or “downtimes.”

To learn more about the ONC’s SAFER Guides or to download this resource, click here.


3 Stories You Need: Health Is Everything, Deny/Defend vs. Apologize/Compensate, Psychological Safety

mednews-logo.300We know you’re busy, but we don’t want you to miss important healthcare quality and patient safety news. Here are several stories that you may have missed but need to take a look at before calling it a week. (Sign up on the right if you’d like these news alerts delivered to you.)

  1. Seven Lessons I’ve Learned About Improving Healthcare in America
    Risa Laviizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, opens her final annual message with a passionate declaration that “Health is Everything.” Read more about the realizations that she’s made in her 14 years as head of the foundation and the steps she believes are critical to growing healthier communities nationwide. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  2. Two Words Can Soothe Patients Who Have Been Harmed: We’re Sorry
    Whether a hospital chooses the traditional model of “deny and defend” when errors happen or opt to apologize and compensate for their mistakes, one thing is certain: Staff need to be applying lessons learned from all of these errors to make care safer. Kaiser Health News
  3. How Can Leaders Create Psychological Safety?
    Download A Framework for Safe, Reliable, and Effective Care, IHI’s new white paper focused on building a culture of safety and a system of continuous learning to promote safety at all turns. IHI Improvement Blog

AHRQ Releases Toolkit to Reduce CAUTI, HAIs in Long-Term Care Facilities

CUSPlogo-300x287The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality introduced a new toolkit designed to help long-term care facilities reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). The evidence-based toolkit was developed over a three-year period through collaboration with more than 450 facilities who reported significant CAUTI reduction resulting from use of AHRQ’s Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP).

The toolkit includes instructional materials and resources in infection prevention best practices, including basic infection prevention strategies and antibiotic stewardship; resident and family engagement;  quality improvement; and sustainability. Ultimately, the agency aims to help facilities reduce all kinds of hospital-acquired infections through implementation of the materials and practices.

To learn more and to access the toolkit, click here.


IHI, NPSF Join Forces to Accelerate Safety Agenda

gI_89171_NPSF-IHI-logos2 National Patient Safety Awareness Week kicked off with the announcement that two key organizations within the patient safety movement, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and National Patient Safety Foundation,  will merge as of May 1.

IHI President and CEO, Derek Feeley, and NPSF President and CEO, Tejal Gandhi, believe the combined strengths of the two organizations will help to propel the safety agenda and influence the emergence of  systems of safety that reach across the continuum of care.

To learn more, watch the video below, and to read the join press release announcing the merger, click here.

IHI and NPSF Leaders Announce Merger

5 Stories You Need: Curbing Post-Op Painkiller Scripts, Salt vs. Superbugs, Preventing Post-Op Delirium

mednews-logo.300We know you’re busy, but we don’t want you to miss important healthcare quality and patient safety news. Here’s a roundup of stories you may have missed but need to take a look at before calling it a week. (Sign up on the right if you’d like these news alerts delivered to you.)

  1. Surgeons were told to stop prescribing so many painkillers. The results were remarkable.
    Prescription drug monitoring programs, insurance company interventions and the reduction of prescriptions issued in emergency departments represent just a few of the ways hospitals are trying to curb opiate overuse and prevent these dangerous medications from getting into the hands of drug dealers. Learn about the simple steps surgeons at Dartmouth-Hitchcock took to reduce the number of painkillers prescribed to patients undergoing certain outpatient surgeries by 53 percent. The Washington Post
  2. Can Salted Doorknobs Prevent Superbug Infections?
    While using salt as a defense against MRSA and other deadly superbugs may seem far-fetched, think about it. Butchers have been using salt to protect meat against bacteria and botulism for centuries. The Atlantic
  3. Joint Commission urges healthcare leaders to develop cultures of safety
    A new infographic gives clarity to the Sentinel Event Alert just issued by The Joint Commission encouraging healthcare leaders to improve patient safety by promoting a “nonpunitive approach to reporting and learning from adverse events, close calls and unsafe conditions.” Fierce Healthcare
  4. From board to bedside: how the application of financial structures to safety and quality can drive accountability in a large health care system.
    Access a study of the highly successful organizational framework put in place at Johns Hopkins Medicine to prioritize quality, patient safety and value. AHRQ: Patient Safety Network
  5. Perioperative brain health: The need to better understand this public health problem
    Consider the reflections of two anesthesiologists who contend that an estimated “40 percent of postoperative delirium cases can be prevented.” KevinMD

Ark. Governor Cites Good Catch Effort in Proclaiming March 12 -18 Patient Safety Awareness Week

GovProc2017300Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a proclamation declaring March 12 – 18, 2017 Patient Safety Awareness Week in Arkansas. In the proclamation, Gov. Hutchinson avowed that “patient safety is central to top-quality healthcare in our nation and our state, and increased improvement in patient safety can be achieved by promoting the widespread sharing of best practices within the healthcare industry, as well as by continuous communication between patients and caregivers.”

In addition, the Governor acknowledged the 44 Arkansas healthcare facilities “actively working to significantly increase near miss reporting, reveal process and system vulnerabilities, and develop proactive data-driven improvement activities through participation in American Data Network Patient Safety Organization’s 2017 Good Catch Campaign, which aims to foster a growing culture of safety in hospitals by encouraging the recognition and reporting of patient safety risk before harm happens.”

The event coincides with National Patient Safety Awareness Week, which marks the culmination of the National Patient Safety Foundation’s  year-long campaign, United for Patient Safety.

NPSF’s United for Patient Safety initiative aims to establish the fact that everyone in the healthcare process plays a role in delivering safe care — from patients and frontline staff to administrators in the executive suite and from patient and family advocates to corporate solutions providers.  NPSF strives also to affirm the importance of the relationship between providers and patients and to demonstrate how increased communication and engagement can lead to safer care.

To read the full text of Gov. Hutchinson’s proclamation announcing Patient Safety Awareness Week 2017, click here.