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Utilization of SAFER Guides

Doctor using tabletIn February 2017, we wrote about Healthcare System Configuration and Collaboration with the help of SAFER Guides, originally published in 2014, by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health (ONC). The SAFER Guides, or Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience, were updated in 2017 and put together to assist healthcare organizations with electronic healthcare record (EHR) implementation and safety.

However, a recent study shows that many healthcare organizations do not adhere to the recommended safety practices contained in the SAFER Guides. The study found that healthcare companies do tend to follow more of the technical recommendations, but just 18%, or 25 of 140 SAFER recommendations, were fully implemented.

As we stated in our previous blog, using a SAFER Guide for EHR implementation is not mandatory, but they do provide useful tools to ensure EHR’s are not left vulnerable. The SAFER Guides, used along with a HIPAA Certified I.T. company, can ensure that the technical aspects of EHR implementation are covered, but not utilizing the guidelines, fully, can result in the safety of electronic health records being at risk.

“Of the 11 recommendations most likely to be ‘not Implemented,’ most (9 of 11) were from 3 guides: Test Results Reporting, Communication and CPOE/CDS, with 4 from the CPOE/CDS guide alone,” researchers wrote. “Conversely, all System Interfaces and Contingency Planning guide recommendations were implemented by at least one site.”

One of the most important findings in the study suggests that, according to researchers, “the guides may also assist in driving culture change regarding organizational learning related to evaluation and improvement of the EHR”. However, “this has historically been seen as the sole responsibility of the IT department rather than as shared responsibility among stakeholders across the entire organization in conjunction with EHR vendor.” This is important because EHR safety does not happen solely from within the technical department or team.

The SAFER Guides specifically state that a multi-disciplinary team should complete the self-assessments and evaluate potential health IT-related patient safety risks addressed by the specific SAFER Guide within the context of a particular healthcare organization. The checklists and worksheets are designed as simple tools to make sure all aspects of EHR are considered. Utilizing the guides, as they were intended, can increase the likelihood of implementing and utilizing EHRs safely and effectively.

Data Fast Solutions is HIPAA I.T. Certified and can assist your organization in utilizing the SAFER Guides effectively to ensure a safe EHR implementation and continued EHR safety. Contact Data Fast Solutions today!

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