ECRI Report Details How IT Can Reduce Testing and Med Errors

A new report from ECRI Institute’s Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety outlines how diagnostic testing and medication errors can be eliminated using technology. Health IT Safe Practices for Closing the Loop was put together by a Partnership-convened work group that sought to address safety issues related to tracking diagnostic tests and medication changes.

“The problem of not closing the loop has a significant impact on patients and caregivers, and can lead to devastating effects on the outcome of patients,” said work group chair Christoph U. Lehmann, MD, of Vanderbilt University, in a release.

The group focused on identifying ways for health IT to mitigate missed, delayed, and incorrect diagnoses on diagnostic testing results and changes in medication, according to the release. The report made three safe practice recommendations:

  • Develop and apply IT solutions to communicate the right information to the right people, at the right time, and in the right format
  • Implement health IT solutions to track key areas
  • Use health IT to link and acknowledge the review of information and the documentation of actions taken

The Partnership uses the work of multiple patient safety organizations (PSO), along with providers, vendors, an expert advisory panel, and collaborating organizations. This is the fourth report released by the Partnership since 2014. The new report is based on reported events in ECRI Institute’s PSO database of more than 2 million adverse events, and evidence-based literature review, and analysis by the Partnership work group.