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AHA proposes additional steps to ensure health IT safety

February 4, 2013

AHA today urged the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to assume a coordinating role in ensuring that health IT systems mitigate harm and promote patient safety, cautioning against an approach that leads to duplicative efforts. Commenting on the agency's proposed patient safety plan, AHA concurred with the agency's proposal to build on existing patient safety efforts across government programs and the private sector, adding that "health IT is most appropriately considered as one of many factors affecting safety, rather than a topic on its own." AHA also commended ONC for recognizing that health IT vendors, clinicians, health care organizations and federal agencies share responsibility for ensuring the safety of health IT systems, and for establishing specific steps to encourage EHR vendors to take responsibility for safe design, implementation and use of their products. In addition, the association voiced support for developing a voluntary code of conduct for EHR vendors; called for a single, national approach to matching patients to their record; and urged ONC to focus on developing a more robust infrastructure for sharing health information.