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athenahealth Partners With Quality Group To Research EMR Patient Safety

Posted on November 15, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

While it’s known that EMRs have been involved with, and probably responsible for, patient harm and even death, research is incomplete and sketchy on what risks are the most pressing and how to avoid them. Plus, we’re always balancing these risks with the potential benefits of EMR as well.

One recent study by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority concluded that EMR default settings for medications caused adverse events in more than 3 percent of cases reviewed by the organization.

But that’s just one study, which can only do so much to help on its own. To get a better grip on such issues, EMR and practice management vendor athenahealth has partnered with Patient Safety Organization Quantros to examine the impact that EMRs are having on patient care. The research project is being funded by athenahealth, according to  a piece in Medical  Practice Insider.

athenahealth is offering its national network of about 47,000 providers free access to Quantros’ Safety Event Manager reporting tool, allowing athena’s EMR clients to submit patient safety data directly to the Quantros Patient Safety Center. Delivering the safety data through a PSO like Quantros insulates providers from liability by offering discovery protections when the practices report and analyze a potential issue, Medical  Practice Insider reports.

As one might expect, athena is mounting the experiment to find out when use of its EMR might have contributed to a  potential adverse event, such as, for example, when the EMR fails to warn a physician that a prescribed drug would interact with a drug the patient is already taking.

The bottom line, for athena, is to analyze the data for patient safety trends, and use it directly to improve its technology, said Tarah Hirschey, athena’s senior manager of patient safety, to Medical  Practice Insider.

GE Promotes EMR Through Patient Safety Organization

Posted on February 21, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

So, here’s a vendor move which I’m surprised others haven’t made yet (at least to my knowledge).

GE Healthcare has formed an official Patient Safety Organization, one blessed by HHS and AHRQ, a step which puts its EMR in the hospital buyer’s face without its having to constantly pitch.

As I see it, this is a clever move which not only helps GE gather data useful in refining Centricity, but also helps make sure people don’t think of safety problems when they think EMR.

The PSO works as follows.  GE has brought together sixteen hospitals, most in Rhode Island, to share data on medical errors.  The data will be captured through MERS, a Web-based event reporting system which all participants will use.   To handle heavy-duty data crunching, GE’s PSO is working with SAS, whose job it will be to integrate and analyze root causes that  contribute to risk.

Not only does this promote GE Healthcare’s brand, it also tightens the bond between itself and the hospitals, which may become reliant on the integration and data management capabilities vendor like SAS can supply.  (Somehow, I doubt your average community hospital has SAS  on board;  its products are just too costly.)

All told, a very interesting development.