HHS is focusing its efforts on developing standards for handling security breaches of electronic health information. The Adoption/Certification Workgroup of the HHS Health Information Technology Policy Committee advisory workgroup has developed a draft proposal that outlines best practices for electronic reporting of patient safety hazards and near misses.

This draft proposal encourages physicians and hospitals to adopt an electronic reporting system for health information security breaches. It also encourages patients to be involved and to report errors, omissions and other mistakes in their health records. The recommendations involve EHR vendors as well, suggesting that they enhance EHR functionality so that “feedback” buttons can be used to quickly report data problems when using the EHR systems.

These best practices are expected to be included in the second phase of “meaningful use” of EHR systems, starting in the fiscal year 2013. The workgroup stated that the goal for incorporating these standards is to establish a “patient-centered” approach to health IT safety. This patient-centered approach would include confidential reporting, liability protections, whistle-blower protections, patients engaged in the system and transparency.

Click here for the original article and a link to the draft proposal.