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Expect more of a team environment in information technology solutions in the future, says an organization serving that industry. "Clients are going to become more involved as a partner in the solution, rather than looking to the vendor or to the consultant to take on all the risks of the decision," says Carla Smith, chief executive officer of the Center for Healthcare Information Management (CHIM) in Ann Arbor, MI. "The client is going to start to share the risk."
When she looks into the future, Smith also expects more collaboration between vendors. CHIM recently announced a collaborative Patient Safety Initiative focused on identifying the power of information technology in mitigating medical errors.
The initiative seeks to provide the health care industry with impartial data that demonstrate how and to what degree information technology can help reduce medical errors in both ambulatory and inpatient settings. Health care information technology vendors and institutions, both CHIM members and non-CHIM members, have been invited to submit their systems’ performance data in case study format to CHIM for review.
This review will consist of verification by an independent advisory board of industry experts selected by CHIM and through independent corroboration, such as with the chief medical officer of the health care setting where data were collected or through publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Advisory board members will be announced before summer arrives.
This effort is the first time software and information technology companies have collaborated on the issue of patient safety, CHIM says in a statement. Patient safety gained importance with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies’ 1999 report that addressed medical errors, "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System."
"Our members got together and said patient safety was an important issue," Smith explains. "We think we have a tool that can help reduce medical errors. We want the industry to know about that."
Corporate partners 3M Health Information Systems of Salt Lake City, Eclipsys Corp. of Delray Beach, FL, ePhysician of Mountain View, CA, and Per-Se Technologies of Atlanta sponsored the initiative. Smith says CHIM has started trying to collect the data and will probably have something ready to publish toward the end of the third quarter.
"We look forward to sharing positive results with key legislative decision makers once we have gathered sufficient information. To that end, we invite any organization with relevant data to contact us," Smith says.