• Commentary
  • Published July 2011

Defining health information technology–related errors: new developments since To Err Is Human.

  • Classic

Efforts to implement health information technology (HIT) continue at a rapid pace, particularly for electronic health records and computerized provider order entry systems. However, studies have demonstrated the unintended consequences of HIT and new errors they create. This commentary takes a sociotechnical approach to highlight the origins of HIT errors, which the authors characterize as malfunctions during use, incorrect use by individuals, and insufficient interaction between HIT and another system component. The authors provide a detailed framework that applies sociotechnical model dimensions (e.g., hardware/software, clinical content, workflow, human–computer interface) to examples of errors and potential ways to reduce their incidence. A past AHRQ WebM&M conversation discussed HIT and patient safety with national expert Dr. David Bates.

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