The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded $3 million to ECRI Institute for a 3-year effort to boost the safe design, implementation, and use of electronic health records (EHRs) and health information technology. This new grant supports three years of groundwork by The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety, a multi-stakeholder collaborative convened by ECRI Institute in 2013 to make health information technology safer.

“With the increasing presence of health IT in all aspects of health care, we need to remain mindful of safety issues that are unintended consequences of this new technology. We are happy to see the Partnership advising health IT developers, users, and policymakers on how to optimize technology and avoid patient harm,” says Janet Corrigan, chief program officer for patient care at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

The Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety has already demonstrated measurable success. It started by identifying and analyzing thousands of health IT safety incidents reported to the ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization, evaluating and synthesizing published studies, and working closely with the Partnership’s advisory panel, collaborating organizations, vendors, and other organizations to clarify the safety issues and develop mitigation strategies.

The Partnership’s expert advisory panel and collaborating organizations include clinicians, researchers, health IT developers, patient safety organizations, and healthcare provider organizations spanning acute and non-acute care settings.

In 2015, the first of a series of multi-stakeholder workgroups created a set of recommendations and a toolkit on the safe use of copy and paste functions in EHRs. The recommendations underwent successful usability testing by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The grant from the Moore Foundation extends this important work to additional critical safety concerns with EHRs, their implementation, and use. It sets the stage for a sustainable private sector capability by engaging experts who have transformed safety practices in healthcare and in other industries in an effort to do the same for HIT patient safety.

“We deeply appreciate the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s commitment to building a sustainable private sector approach to health IT safety. By scaling up and extending the reach of the Partnership, we can greatly accelerate implementation of safe practices, embedding HIT safety in the medical culture,” says Ronni Solomon, JD, executive vice president and general counsel, ECRI Institute.

A second set of Health IT Safe Practices on the critical issue of patient identification is currently underway. To underpin this work, ECRI Institute PSO collected over 7,000 safety reports in which wrong patient information contributed to potential or real harm, such as administering a wrong medication or performing an incorrect surgery.

The initial work of the Partnership began with a grant from the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation (JKTG) for Health and Policy; it is now possible to expand the Partnership’s work with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.