WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A new electronic health record (EHR) safety reporting system was announced today by the iHealth Alliance, a not-for-profit organization composed of medical society and professional liability carrier executives in collaboration with federal agencies and PDR Network. EHRevent.org establishes a national system where physicians and other health care providers can report issues related to the implementation and use of EHRs.
Using a standardized online format, EHRevent will collect reports from physicians and other health care providers who use EHRs and create reports that medical societies, professional liability carriers and government agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will use to help educate providers on the potential challenges that EHR systems may bring. The system will be available directly via the Internet at www.EHRevent.org and also integrated into the web sites of participating liability carriers, medical societies, PDR Network and other partners, including EHR system vendors.
EHRevent was modeled after other national reporting systems, including the system used in the aviation industry, and its reports include issues related to software problems, inadequate user training, security breaches and near-misses. Reports will be confidential but used to better understand challenges associated with the adoption and implementation of EHRs and to improve patient safety.
"Electronic health records are being adopted at record rates and present an opportunity to advance patient care," said Nancy Dickey, M.D., iHealth Alliance chair and former president of the American Medical Association. "As with any new system, there is a learning curve for the software providers and for the doctors who use these systems. EHRevent will help us all get smarter about EHRs and assure that patient care advances are also patient-safe advances."
Professional liability carriers who insure doctors against malpractice claims are among the strongest supporters of EHRevent.
"EHRs can impact both the care that is delivered and the record of that care," explained David Troxel, M.D., medical director for The Doctors Company, which is the country's largest professional liability carrier. "EHRs can play a major role in advancing the practice of good medicine, but there are often unanticipated consequences when new technologies are deployed and it is important to collect and disseminate EHR user experience as these powerful systems are adopted."
Alan Lembitz, M.D., vice president of Patient Safety and Risk Management for COPIC Insurance Company, added, "Our experience indicates that EHRs have the capacity either to induce or to reduce medical errors in very unique ways, and we have seen data that indicates that EHR adoption may reduce physician liability. It will be increasingly important to understand best practices to improve patient safety for EHRs and for their users, and EHRevent will help both."
EHRevent is also working directly with EHR vendors as well as Regional Extension Centers (RECs), which are federally designated groups that assist physicians with EHR selection and adoption. Participating EHR vendors and RECs will help educate physicians regarding the importance of EHR event reporting and will receive reports as EHRevent partners.
"Patient safety is at the core of our mission to assist in the adoption of EHRs," explained Kathy Mechler, co-director and chief operating officer for the Texas A&M Health Science Center Rural and Community Health Institute, which includes the CentrEast REC. "We look forward to working with the many EHRevent partners to help educate providers and drive safe EHR adoption."
Michael Stearns, M.D., president and CEO of e-MDs, Inc., a leading EHR vendor, and board president of the Texas e-Health Alliance said, "EHRs have tremendous potential to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare, but like any tool they must be designed and implemented in a way that uses best practices that strive to eliminate medical errors. We are anxious to collaborate with the EHRevent effort and we encourage all EHR vendors to participate because we believe that EHRevent can be an important communication platform to improve patient safety related not only to EHRs but to medical devices and drugs."
Data collected by EHRevent will also be used by the FDA to help evaluate any safety issues that may arise during the widespread implementation of this technology.
"We applaud the efforts of the iHealth Alliance to help assure the safety of EHRs," said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., J.D., director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "We look forward to working with the iHealth Alliance to encourage physicians and EHR vendors to report information on their experiences with electronic health records to EHRevent and other appropriate reporting systems."
EHRevent and a similar service for reporting adverse drug events via EHRs will be governed by the iHealth Alliance, with network operations provided by PDR Network. PDR Network CEO, Edward Fotsch, M.D. explained, "EHRevent, and RxEvent for adverse drug events, will collect information using online forms that include the Common Format developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and will keep the information confidential through PDR Secure, a Patient Safety Organization, allowing only participating organizations to access the reports.
"We know that clinicians and health care organizations want to participate in efforts to improve patient care," said William Munier, M.D. Director for the Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, AHRQ. "Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) facilitate a shared-learning approach that supports effective interventions to reduce risk of harm to patients and improve quality. We are collaborating in efforts to facilitate reporting to PSOs those adverse events that are related to EHRs and other health information technology, in order to facilitate the development of safer health information technology solutions."
Starting today, U.S. physicians and other healthcare professionals will learn about and be encouraged to use EHRevent by their medical societies, liability carriers, the FDA, PDR Network and other participating groups.
For more information visit www.EHRevent.org.
To access a Live Webcast of this announcement via the Internet, please log-in at www.visualwebcaster.com/EHRevent, at 12 p.m. est.
The iHealth Alliance is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to protect the interests of patients and providers as health care increasingly adopts electronic systems in patient care. iHealth Alliance board members include senior executives from U.S. medical societies, professional liability carriers, patient safety groups and a liaison representative from the FDA. The iHealth Alliance governs PDR Drug Alerts delivered via the Health Care Notification Network (HCNN), a service of PDR Network. It oversees the development of independent CME associated with drug labeling, Drug Alerts and REMS notifications, as well as providing oversight to PDR Secure, PDR Network's Patient Safety Organization (PSO). For more information on the iHealth Alliance click here.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ) mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. As 1 of 12 agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, AHRQ supports research that helps people make more informed decisions and improves the quality of health care services.
CentrEast Regional Extension Center
Affiliated with the Texas A&M Health Science Center, the mission of the CentrEast Regional Extension Center (REC) is to bridge the gaps and disparities in health care by improving the quality and safety of patient care. CentrEast REC provides technical assistance, guidance and information to physicians and health care professionals in 47 central and east Texas counties regarding the adoption, implementation and Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs).
COPIC provides medical professional liability insurance to physicians, hospitals, health plans and other medical entities in Colorado and Nebraska. COPIC Insurance Company is a member of the COPIC family of companies, along with COPIC Medical Foundation and COPIC Financial Service Group, Ltd. Together, the COPIC family of companies are a leading partner, advocate and catalyst for better medicine, working collaboratively with key stakeholders and the broader health care community to enhance medicine, enhance lives and enhance communities.
e-MDs is a leading developer of health care software solutions headquartered in Austin, Texas. The company, founded in 1996 by a primary care physician, remains physician and clinical informaticist managed and actively participates in national health information technology and interoperability efforts. e-MDs Solution Series™, with more than 28,000 users nationwide, is the standard for affordable and integrated EHR and PRACTICE MANAGEMENT software solutions, including clinical, financial and document management modules designed to automate medical practice processes and chart management. e-MDs Solution Series version 6.3 is a CCHIT Certified® 2008 Ambulatory EHR additionally certified for Cardiovascular Medicine and Child Health and underwent Meaningful Use certification on November 13, 2010. The e-MDs Solution Series' comprehensive suite of products facilitates improvements in clinical care, a reduction in medical errors and optimization of business practices. As testimony to our focus on ease of use and functionality, e-MDs has ranked at the top of all independent, unbiased, physician surveys thus far. For more information, please visit www.e-mds.com.
PDR Network LLC, is the leading distributor of drug labeling information, product safety Alerts and REMS programs, including Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR®), the most highly trusted and commonly used drug information reference available in the U.S., PDR.net, mobilePDR® and Health Care Notification Network (HCNN), the only service providing specialty-specific electronic delivery of FDA-approved safety Alerts to physicians. HCNN is governed by the not-for-profit iHealth Alliance. For more information, visit www.pdrnetwork.com
The Doctors Company
Founded by doctors for doctors in 1976, The Doctors Company (www.thedoctors.com) is relentlessly committed to advancing, protecting and rewarding the practice of good medicine. The Doctors Company is the largest national insurer of physician and surgeon medical liability with 55,000 member physicians, $3 billion in assets, an A rating by Fitch Ratings and an A- rating by A.M. Best Company.
SOURCE iHealth Alliance