Middleton B, Bloomrosen M, Dente MA, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2013;20:e2-8.
The introduction of health information technology (IT) has resulted in various documented improvements in patient safety and care delivery. However, unintended consequences have also emerged, and the potential for health IT to cause harm is now well recognized. This report includes 10 recommendations for research, policy, industry, and clinician users. These broad guidelines are aimed at coordinating diverse efforts from different stakeholder groups to improve the safe and effective use of health IT. Previously, a 2011 Institute of Medicine report and an online AHRQ guide made recommendations concerning safe implementation of electronic health records. A previous AHRQ WebM&M perspective examines the benefits and challenges of available health IT systems.
The Joint Commission issues Sentinel Event Alerts to highlight areas of high risk and to promote the rapid adoption of risk reduction strategies. Adherence to these recommendations is then assessed as part of Joint Commission accreditation surveys at health care organizations nationwide. This recently retired alert targets prevention of maternal death and highlights the need to manage blood pressure, pay attention to vital signs following cesarean delivery, and hemorrhage. The alert also provides recommendations around educational strategies, identifying specific clinical triggers for action, and conducting adequate risk assessments. As of September 2016, current guidance will be distributed by a new initiative. Please refer to the information link below for further details.
Anticoagulant therapies such as heparin and warfarin are considered high-alert medications, due to the high potential for patient harm if used improperly. They have been associated with adverse events in a variety of settings, including in hospitalized patients and outpatients, and ensuring the safety of patients receiving anticoagulants is a National Patient Safety Goal for 2008. This sentinel event alert issued by the Joint Commission discusses the root causes of anticoagulant-associated patient harm and recommends strategies for reducing errors, including implementation of a pharmacist-led anticoagulation service. Sentinel event alerts are intended to promote rapid implementation of patient safety strategies, and adherence to these recommendations is assessed on site visits by the Joint Commission. Note: This alert has been retired effective October 2019. Please refer to the full-text link below for further information.
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