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Managed IT support can curb health IT missteps

According to a new report, mishandling of patient information is among the most hazardous health IT errors.

According to a new report, mishandling of patient information is among the most hazardous health IT errors.

As the healthcare industry continues on the path toward Meaningful Use, IT is becoming an increasingly important issue. Electronic medical records (EMR) systems are of particular interest in a recent study released by the Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI).

According to ECRI's top 10 list of most health technology hazards, three relate specifically to information management errors. They were:

•  Patient – data mismatches in EMR and other IT systems
•  Interoperability failures between medical devices and health IT solutions
•  Caregiver distractions stemming from smartphone and tablet use

"The inherent complexity of HIT-related medical technologies, their potential to introduce new failure modes, and the possibility that such failures will affect many patients before being noticed – combined with federal incentives to meet Meaningful Use requirements – leads us to encourage healthcare facilities to pay particular attention to health IT when prioritizing their safety initiatives for 2013," said James P. Keller, Jr., vice president of health technology evaluation and safety at ECRI.

What does this mean for health IT and EMR systems?

The fact that these setbacks can occur does not mean medical facilities should be hesitant to implement state-of-the-art solutions. It simply means that they must take the proper steps to manage them.

Any EMR consultant will tell health practice decision-makers that technology is only beneficial if it is used correctly. Through managed IT support, medical institutions of any size will no longer have to worry about handling their patient caseloads and overseeing and maintaining IT assets.

This way, providers can work with healthcare professionals and train them on how to use technology solutions efficiently, while also offering around-the-clock support to mitigate the risk of mistakes.