With the tremendous growth of health information technology (HIT) to collect, store, use and analyze health information, there is a complex set of obligations the corporations that develop and sell these systems are facing. Some vendors incorporate contract language where purchasers must indemnify vendors for malpractice or personal injury claims even if the events are not caused or fostered by the purchaser. To address these issues, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) appointed a task force, including a University of Alabama at Birmingham professor, to tackle the ethics, safety, best practices and oversight regarding HIT vendors, their customers and patients.
Eta Berner, Ed.D., professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at UAB, along with eight other academia and health care companies across the U.S., were tasked to provide an assessment of the issues and make recommendations to AMIA leadership. The group came up with proposals in six categories: contract language, education and ethics, user groups, best practices, marketing, and regulation and oversight of the industry.
Some of the task force suggestions include contracts should not contain language that prevents a purchaser from using their best judgment about what actions are necessary to protect patient safety. The group also advises that safe and successful HIT systems require not only education to install, configure and use the product but also ethics education. The task force also proposes identifying common or widely recognized risks and harms and the means to reduce or prevent them. Overall, the majority of the members agree some system of government oversight or regulation of health information technology needs to be given serious consideration.
Other universities and companies involved in the task force include the University of Miami, GE Healthcare IT, Yale University of School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Siemens Medical Solutions, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, Harvard Medical School and University at Buffalo.
To read the complete 5-page AMIA board position paper, visit http://jamia.bmj.com/site/icons/amiajnl8946.pdf.
Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is the state of Alabama’s largest employer and an internationally renowned research university and academic health center whose professional schools and specialty patient care programs are consistently ranked as among the nation’s top 50; find more information at www.uab.edu and www.uabmedicine.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a separate, independent institution from the University of Alabama, which is located in Tuscaloosa. Please use University of Alabama at Birmingham on first reference and UAB on second reference.
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