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Improving the safety of health information technology requires shared responsibility: It is time we all step up.
Sittig DF, Belmont E, Singh H. Improving the safety of health information technology requires shared responsibility: It is time we all step up. Healthcare (Amsterdam, Netherlands). 2018 Mar 1; 6(1):7-12.
In 2011, an Institute of Medicine report on health information technology (IT) and patient safety highlighted that building health-IT for safer use is a shared responsibility between key stakeholders including: "vendors, care providers, healthcare organizations, health-IT departments, and public and private agencies". Use of electronic health records (EHRs) involves all these stakeholders, but they often have conflicting priorities and requirements. Since 2011, the concept of shared responsibility has gained little traction and EHR developers and users continue to attribute the substantial, long list of problems to each other. In this article, we discuss how these key stakeholders have complementary roles in improving EHR safety and must share responsibility to improve the current state of EHR use. We use real-world safety examples and outline a comprehensive shared responsibility approach to help guide development of future rules, regulations, and standards for EHR usability, interoperability and security as outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act. This approach clearly defines the responsibilities of each party and helps create appropriate measures for success. National and international policymakers must facilitate the local organizational and socio-political climate to stimulate the adoption of shared responsibility principles. When all major stakeholders are sharing responsibility, we will be more likely to usher in a new age of progress and innovation related to health IT.