Health IT workflow and patient ID concerns top list of patient safety issues

Jeff Rowe
Health IT workflow and patient ID concerns top list of patient safety issues

What’s the biggest concern healthcare stakeholders have this year when it comes to health IT?

According to a new report from the ECRI Institute, it’s that EHR workflows don’t regularly meet the standard configuration for optimal patient safety. This report, titled Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for Healthcare Organizations, is the third annual report from ECRI, which it compiles by drawing on its own large databases of reported safety events, in addition to conferring with a range of safety experts.  

The workflow problem stems from the fact that healthcare organizations are constantly updating their EHR systems: adding new modules, changing logic rules in the backend, adjusting data collection methodologies, and switching new features on and off.  

However, “after the implementation [of new technologies], people continue to do things the same way and really don’t adjust the health IT system or their workflow,” said Robert C. Giannini, NHA, CHTS-IM/CP, patient safety analyst and consultant, ECRI Institute. 

Patient identification errors were second on the list, while inadequate management of behavioral health issues was third. According to a statement at the time of the report’s release, “This concern is evident when hospital patients may behave aggressively due to psychiatric disorders, reactions to their treatment, or other reasons when not in the behavioral health unit. These circumstances can lead to injury or even death of patients or staff—as many recent media reports have shown. All staff need to be trained to work with patients with behavioral health needs and participate in frequent drills.”