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ONC Names Winners of EHR Innovation Challenge for Safety Reporting

Three health IT developers have been named winners of an ONC innovation challenge centered on streamlining EHR safety reporting.

ONC recently named the winners of its health IT innovation challenge.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- ONC recently selected three winners of its EHR innovation challenge seeking health IT solutions to ease EHR safety reporting for providers and reduce administrative burden.

The Easy EHR Issue Reporting Challenge is part of the federal agency’s overall effort to boost health IT use safety. Winners developed health IT tools designed to help clinicians report EHR usability and safety issues faster and more efficiently within existing clinical workflows.

“Helping reduce the burden of health IT continues to be a key area of focus at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and we anticipate the winning submissions to the Easy EHR Issue Reporting Challenge will help with those efforts,” said National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Don Rucker, MD.

“Once the winning submissions reach production, we expect to see how reporting safety issues can be less burdensome for healthcare providers,” Rucker added.

James Madison Advisory Group won first place and $45,000 for its solution for reporting possible safety events through a system tray icon or hotkey on any Windows 8 or higher implementation. The tray icon or hotkey prevents users from needing to exit their clinical workflows, regardless of the EHR vendor their facility uses.

The tool exports in the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Common Formats XML and PDF, captures screenshots, and streamlines report delivery for providers.

Health IT developer Pegwin won second plance and $25,000 for its software platform that creates and sends safety or usability reports in as few as three clicks.

The solution uses contextual menus and was designed to maximize usability for providers. The solution is designed to reduce the administrative burden associated with completing Common Formats.

Finally, Jared Schwartz and his team won third place and $10,000 for a browser plug-in to Google Chrome that integrates directly into health IT ticketing systems. The solution allows providers to capture safety issues more consistently. Users can also provide additional information about security incidents faster or save incidents and return to them when they have more time to provide additional information about the event.

 “Improving the safety of health IT remains an important priority,” said ONC Chief Clinical Officer Andy Gettinger, MD. “We believe that making it easier for end users to report will help in that goal.”

 Many providers are pushing for more efficient, user-friendly ways to report safety concerns without disrupting clinical workflows. Challenge submissions will help users more easily identify, document, and report potential EHR safety problems when they occur.

By streamlining EHR safety reporting issues, ONC hopes to better position clinicians and healthcare organization staff to identify root causes, offer feedback to EHR developers, and produce best practice guidance to avoid similar incidents in the future.

ONC launched the challenge in May to reduce administrative burden on providers. Currently, the majority of EHR systems require users to either log out of their EHR systems entirely or leave their clinical workflows to report problems.

These extra clicks can lower provider satisfaction with EHR systems, disrupt clinical workflows, and may disrupt some clinicians from reporting EHR safety problems at all.

Health IT innovators who participated in the challenge where required to undergo user testing or co-design their EHR safety reporting tools with end-users to ensure high levels of usability. Innovators were encouraged to collaborate with physicians, nurses, and other clinicians during the development of applications.

The competition was launched shortly after a May 2018 study found adherence to recommended EHR safety practices is low.

Increasing EHR safety reporting by ensuring the process adds minimal additional burden to the provider workday may allow more clinicians to report problems as they occur.

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