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Better health IT design crucial to improving patient safety

The role of health IT in opening communication between patients and providers, and in improving patient safety, cannot be underemphasized, two University of Illinois at Chicago physicians note in this podcast.

Communication between providers and patients is crucial, especially after an adverse event or medical error has occurred. Organizations have to feel more comfortable disclosing such events and even apologizing when things go wrong.

In this podcast, Timothy McDonald and David Mayer, physicians who co-chair the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Patient Safety Excellence, explain their safety and disclosure model. The institute recently received a $3 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that is aimed at improving patient safety and reforming disclosure policies. Through the grant, the institute will expand the disclosure model to other Chicago-area hospitals.

Technology plays a role in that model of safety and disclosure. As the federal government continues to draft meaningful use requirements aimed at making providers use health IT for improving patient safety and quality of care, stakeholders must consider the design of their systems, which don't take safety into consideration yet, according to McDonald. "All the information is there, but it's not particularly user-friendly."

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Let us know what you think about the podcast; email Jean DerGurahian, News Writer.

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