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How can we partner with electronic health record vendors on the complex journey to safer health care?

Sittig DF, Ash JS, Wright A, Chase D, Gebhardt E, Russo EM, Tercek C, Mohan V, Singh H. How can we partner with electronic health record vendors on the complex journey to safer health care?. Journal of healthcare risk management : the journal of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. 2020 Oct 1; 40(2):34-43.

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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) guides in 2014. Our group developed these guides covering key facets of both electronic health record (EHR) infrastructure (eg, system configuration, contingency planning for downtime, and system-to-system interfaces) and clinical processes (eg, computer-based provider order entry with clinical decision support, test result reporting, patient identification, and clinician-to-clinician communication). The SAFER guides encourage healthy relationships between EHR vendors and users. We conducted a qualitative study over 12 months. We visited 9 health care organizations ranging in size from 1-doctor outpatient clinics to large, multisite, multihospital integrated delivery networks. We interviewed and observed clinicians, IT professionals, and administrators. From the interview transcripts and observation field notes, we identified overarching themes: technical functionality, usability, standards, testing, workflow processes, personnel to support implementation and use, infrastructure, and clinical content. In addition, we identified health care organization-EHR vendor working relationships: marine drill sergeant, mentor, development partner, seller, and parasite. We encourage health care organizations and EHR vendors to develop healthy working relationships to help address the tasks required to design, develop, implement, and maintain EHRs required to achieve safer and higher quality health care.

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