National Patient Safety Foundation Tackles Health IT With Online Course

The course combines a monograph with audio and slide lectures, and is accredited for continuing medical education credits.

The National Patient Safety Foundation has released an educational offering geared toward helping health professionals align their health information technology strategy with overarching patient safety goals.

The course, "Health Information Technology through the Lens of Patient Safety," is an educational module that explores the fundamentals of health information technology (HIT) and examines the challenges of information collection, use and application in health systems.

Delivered in an online, self-paced format that combines a monograph with audio and slide lectures, the module is accredited for continuing education and continuing medical education credits.

The module also focuses on the key concepts of organizational culture, transparency, patient engagement, integration of care and human factors engineering (HFE) and explains the rationale for using them as the guiding science behind any effective HIT strategy.

Those who complete the program will be able to describe how health IT affects patient safety, define the challenges of health IT use, analyze strategies for evaluation and implementation of an HIT initiative, and identify ways that HIT can support a culture of transparency and safety.

"A successful HIT program requires a solid understanding of the fundamental principles that are critical to moving the national patient safety agenda forward," Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, said in a statement. "This educational module provides the background and knowledge needed to incorporate these patient safety principles in the design and deployment of HIT."

Developed by a team of clinicians with expertise in clinical informatics, the module is geared toward physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and patient safety and health quality professionals.

The material was planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of The Doctors Company and the National Patient Safety Foundation.

"Through error reduction and clinical support, effective use of HIT allows providers to deliver safer, higher-quality care in a more efficient and cost-effective manner," the organization's Website explained. "HIT development and implementation is a critical next step in the positive direction toward safer patient care."

While the use of information technology has rapidly proliferated in health care, thanks in part to federal financial incentives available to organizations that demonstrate meaningful use of HIT, challenges remain regarding how best to collect, use and apply information, which the course is designed to address.

A recent report from the ECRI Institute highlighted the risk of data integrity failures in electronic health records (EHRs) and other health IT systems. The presence of incorrect data could lead to incorrect treatment, causing patient harm, and the data in an EHR or other health IT system can be compromised, the report noted.